Trial and tribulation of flood victims

National 2 minutes, 11 seconds

TUTONG

THE homes of Tutong residents affected by the recent spate of flooding have been left bare, after much of their belongings were damaged and could not be salvaged.

The floods, said to be among the worst the district has seen in recent years, reached up to 1.5 metres and inundated living spaces.

“Most of our furniture was damaged beyond repair,” said Isniah Metali, one of the victims who received assistance from student volunteers of Politeknik Brunei yesterday.

“We had to resort to just burning them — bed frames and cabinets — we burnt it all,” the Kg Penapar resident added.

Her husband, Kamaluddin Hj Bungsu, said that they have yet to carry out repairs to their house. The windows were shattered and front door damaged as a result of the flood from previous weeks.

Kamaluddin shared that he had personally approached the District Office to ask for aid to do house repairs. He was told to carry it out with his own finances first, after which he would be reimbursed.

The father of three also voiced his discontent with his son’s school. The floods prevented his children from attending lessons over the past few weeks and the school principal insisted on a letter from the village head to vouch that his house had indeed been flooded.

“A good principal or teacher should visit the student’s house to check on their welfare,” said Kamaluddin.

Saliah Hj Abdullah, another flood victim of Kg Penapar expressed her relief that the water level did not reach her main living space, as her house was on stilts.

She also managed to move her cars to higher ground before the water level was too high.

She suggested that in future, small boats be provided for the area since they were unable to reach their homes using their cars.

She also called for better temporary shelters for displaced flood victims, as the Tanjong Maya Community Hall, where victims were evacuated to, offered little privacy.

“It’s ok if we’re staying among children but there were also teenagers and young adults around. I didn’t feel comfortable,” Saliah explained. Another Kg Penapar resident, Metusin Idris, echoed Saliah’s suggestion for proper evacuation facilities to cope with the yearly floods.

The floods damaged his property and immersed five of his cars.

He mentioned that during the 2009 floods, his family had to stay at a hotel for a few days under their own expenses. This year, they sought refuge at a nephew’s house. The residents interviewed were among 30 from Kg Penapar and Kg Rambai who received food donations from students of Politeknik Brunei yesterday.

The Brunei Times