Elderly woman clutches onto a tree to save herself from floods

BALING – A senior citizen, who was swept away by floodwaters that had submerged several villages here, managed to save herself by holding on to a palm tree before the rescue team could reach her.

Hasnah Ismail, 58, said as soon as she saw the water rising quickly, she and her husband decided to climb a rambutan tree near their house.

“When I saw the rambutan tree almost falling, my husband (Che Nai Isa, 59)  and I tried to clutch on to the drifting logs, but he missed it and was swept away by flood waters.

“Fortunately, he managed to grab a bamboo pole while I managed to cling on the palm tree. We were in the water for about an hour before the rescue team found us at about 8pm,” she told Bernama when met at the temporary relief centre at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jerai here last night.

Recounting her harrowing experience, Hasnah said she tried to scream for help, but no one had heard her, and all she could do was wait until help arrived.

“I thought I was going to die because I did not see anyone coming for us. But, I felt grateful as soon as I saw a rescue boat approaching us.

“When we were in the water, the drifting logs hit my back several times. Thank God, we are both not injured,” she added.

According to Hasnah, she has resided in Kampung Padang Empal since childhood and often witnessed floods but described this one as the worst.

“Normally, if the water rises, it would only be ankle or calf deep. This is the first time that my house was submerged in the floods until the roof.

“I could not save any of my possessions from my house, including two motorcycles. The cash of about RM2,000 from the sales of goats, also washed away by the floodwaters,” she added.

According to Hasnah, her daughter Nor Alia, 20, who is a person with disabilities, had been rescued earlier by a relative.

“He carried my child, although the water had risen to neck level. Alhamdulillah, both of them are safe,” she said.

Meanwhile, another flood victim, Siti Mariam Abdul Isa, 70, said her husband, who has been partially paralysed for the past nine years, was submerged under the water as he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

“We (my son and grandson) were busy moving our belongings to the higher ground and we forget about my husband. Upon realising, we quickly took him upstairs,” she said.

 Siti Hajar Said, 32, said she was sad as she could not save her belongings and her pet cat and rabbit.

“The rain started at about 4pm and the water begin to rise at 5 pm. In less than 30 minutes, the water reached roof level.

“All six houses located near the river were submerged in the floods,” she said. – Bernama