Malaysian villagers all set to face the floods

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Rosliah and her son Huszree Tokiman storing a printer and other goods on higher shelves at their home in Kampung Sungai Laut.

JOHOR BARU - From storing away important documents and electrical items to having a boat, villagers are getting ready for the floods that come their way every monsoon season.

Housewife Rosliah Hamdani, 51, who has been staying in Kampung Sungai Laut here for the past 30 years, said she had sealed away important documents in a plastic bag.

"When the river started to rise during the rainy season, I decided to put away important documents for emergency evacuation.

"I even started moving electrical items such as computers and printers onto higher shelves and cleared rubbish from the river behind," she said, adding that she lost RM5,000 in home appliances and other valuables during the flood in December 2006 when waters rose to the roof, destroying everything.

In Terengganu, Ismail Zakaria, who grew up in Kampung Permaisuri all his life, a flood-prone area near the Setiu river, has a fishing boat parked right next to his house - just in case.

"I fish as a hobby.

"But during the floods, this boat comes in handy," said the 45-year-old entrepreneur, adding that the worst flood experience saw him, his wife and five children transferred to an evacuation centre.

Meanwhile, Johor executive councillor for public works Datuk Hasni Mohammad said Works Department district offices had been instructed to start preparing for floods.

"I have told them to monitor the irrigation and drainage system and take immediate action to clean up clogged drains in their areas," said Hasni.

Johor Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Ab Ghani Daud said annual leave for its personnel would be frozen immediately when the floods hit, adding that 1,100 officers, including 40 divers, were told to be on standby in high-risk districts of Batu Pahat, Mersing, Muar and Segamat. Also prepared are 30 rescue boats.

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