Our very own Katrina – The Tragedy that is the Johor Floods

The Johor floods returned with a vengeance after subsiding for a couple of days since it struck during the Christmas week of 2006. Continuous heavy rain had started pouring early last week, causing floodwaters to rise back up again to dangerous levels – resulting in more damages of property and displaced residents. Residents of Johor who had just started their cleaning process following the first flood are now dismayed that they have to abandon their homes and belongings once more as floods raged through several districts in Johor.

The floods in Johor had already claimed 17 lives and possibly hundreds of millions of ringgit in losses in terms of damages and disruptions to property and businesses respectively. It is not wrong, therefore, to draw comparisons between this tragedy and that that struck the people of New Orleans two years ago when Hurricane Katrina ripped through it. While the scale of destruction was much more massive compared to Johor’s flood, one similarity remains – the slow response of the governments and authorities in reaching out to the victims affected by Mother Nature’s fury.

The Malaysian government claimed that they had not expected the floods to have caused such massive damage and to have lasted so long. This is just an lame excuse for them to weasel out of the sticky situation they’ve gotten themselves into for not being pro-active and vigilant during the flood situation. It says a lot about the government when they use an excuse like “We did not expect it” – they lacked training in how to handle crisis situations such as these effectively and urgently. No matter how big or small the scale of disaster is, the authorities should’ve treated it all with the same amount of urgency. They should have always been prepared for the worst so that they know what to do when it did happen and not before the disaster struck and everyone is running around like headless chickens not knowing what to do and who to blame for their lack of preparations.

As such, I believe that every single local council in Johor ought to be sacked and the Chief Minister of Johor Datuk Seri Abdul Ghani Othman, ought to resign in disgrace for doing nearly nothing to save the people. And Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak too, ought to be taken to task for arrogantly saying “Malaysia do not need foreign help” to deal with the flood situation. It is so obvious that we DO need help seeing that we couldn’t even manage this disaster in an orderly and proper way. We could’ve learnt from the best of the best, but nooo…we’re just too proud to accept help…we don’t want to kowtow to the fact that the Malaysian authorities could not handle a massive disaster such as that of the Johor floods.

And because of the arrogance of our leaders, 104,000 people and more are facing a bleak, bleak year…even future if the rains show no signs of letting up… It’s a shame that such a thing could happen to us in a year which is suppose to be a momentous and happy year for all Malaysians. Now, celebrations and partying are the least of their concerns of families and business owners look to literally starting from scratch to rebuild their lives washed away by waters from hell.

My only thoughts now are that of my sister, my brother-in-law, my nephew and my little niece who are all residing in Johor. Fortunately, the place where they are staying were not greatly affected but still, they are trapped in their house because it’s difficult to travel around the state…not to mention dangerous with roads sinking, raging floodwaters and landslides occuring.

Here’s to hoping that the floods subside and that the victims get a more substantial amount of aid instead of the pathetic sum of RM300 the government intended to give out. Whole lives have to be rebuilt and the government expect these families to do so with RM300 while they spent hundred of millions on worthless projects like sending a man off to space, building another stupid palace for the king and building another stupid tower in Malacca. Goes to show how much this government love the people who voted for them in the first place. So much for gratitude…

For you to comprehend the damage of the floods, I would like to point you to TV Smith’s superb gallery of photographs that depict the mayhem and destruction caused by the flood and the aftermath of it.

It is heartening then, to see that several organisations had started several aid funds to help the victims of the floods in Johor. NSTP is one such fund that I know of currently but I am quite sure that there are religious associations and other welfare groups that are mobilising volunteer helpers and asking for donations to help the victims as well. I just hope that the aid go to people who really DO need the help rather than into the pockets of those who can manage the tragedy quite well themselves (read: rich business folk).

My friend Tiara, whose hometown is in Johor, has also put up an appeal for people to help the victims of the flood in her beloved home state. Please, let us all pitch in and do what we could to help our fellow Malaysian brothers and sisters. If there ever was a time to set aside our differences, it would be now. Let us all show the TRUE spirit of Malaysia Boleh!

Let this tragedy be a lesson to us all – that Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with and we should never have underestimated it. Godspeed to all Johoreans…my prayers are with you all. May we all come out of this disaster stronger and tougher and more prepared than ever before.

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  1. I’m in Ulu Tiram. It’s sunny! Windy now, so the rain may be back, but it’s OK so far. It’s not quite as terrible in Ulu Tiram as it is in places like Kota Tinggi…we can still get in and out. Highway from Pagoh to Yong Peng’s collapsed though.

    http://divabat.livejournal.com/330484.html

  2. ah bugger, WP ate the last or my comment. That link has resources to help 🙂

  3. Oh yeah…I forgot you’re in Johor too! Great to hear that your area is also not as bad as those in Kota Tinggi and elsewhere.

    Thanks for the link to the places where one can send/donate help to. I’ll include it on my post.

  4. Not only the govt expects families to survive on paltry amount of RM 500 which they have YET to receive(compared with RM 600 million handout to UMNO members), Pak Lah was busy holidaying in Perth, Turkey and Phillipines while his countrymen is suffering. Even you can count on Pres Bush to do better than him in this kind of crisis!

  5. Yes, I am quite peeved about that too, Corgan. I’ve always wondered what’s wrong with Pak Lah and I just wish he does something more than his deputy. Sometimes I wonder, too, if Pak Lah is just a mere puppet while the real deal pulling the strings are some shadowy people behind the scenes…




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