Villagers worry as barrier fails to keep floods away

Chian (left) and Ong Jing Yan, 35, look at the barrier after it was completed last week. — Picture by Marcus Pheong
Chian (left) and Ong Jing Yan, 35, look at the barrier after it was completed last week. — Picture by Marcus Pheong

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IPOH, Nov 14 — Villagers in Kuala Kurau, Kerian, about 110km from here, were distraught after the barrier they built near the river mouth failed to prevent sea water from overflowing during a king tide yesterday morning. 

Food seller Chian Woei Yeong, 39, said the villagers were disappointed their efforts failed to prevent flooding.

“We thought the barrier we raised would stop water from overflowing during the king tide but our hopes were dashed when we saw the roads beside the river flooded,” he told Malay Mail yesterday. 

“We were lucky no houses or shops were affected but we are worried about the next few days.”

Chian said the villagers were expecting a higher tide today and feared that this time, the water could reach their houses some 100m from the river. 

The residents raised their own funds to build the barrier after failing to get a response from the government to help them prepare for the king tide phenomenon. 

The 200m-long barrier cost them RM3,000. 

In a statement, Perak State Disaster Management Commission chairman Mohd Noor Hassan Ashari warned the public of a bigger king tide anytime from today till next Monday.

“We believe the water could rise up to 2.8m to 3.5m,” he said. 

Mohd Noor said the commission identified several districts that could be affected by the king tide. 

Among the districts were Hulu Perak, Kerian, Larut Matang and Selama, Manjung, Perak Tengah, Hilir Perak and Bagan Datoh.

He advised other districts to take precaution as well. 

“We advise people living near coastal areas to store their important documents in a higher place,” he said. 

“We want people to listen to instructions from the authorities and evacuate their houses when necessary or when told to do so. 

“And all district leaders should be ready at all times and we want the related authorities to patrol the high-risk coastal areas every four hours starting today till Nov 21.” 

Mohd Noor said the district’s welfare departments should be on standby to open evacuation centres when needed. 

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