KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — The state of Pahang has borne the brunt of the relentless winter monsoon that continues to lash the east coast of Malaysia.
This morning, it was reported that 18,976 people from 5,032 families are now seeking shelter in 241 flood relief centres across the state.
Yet, the worst of times tends to bring out the best in Malaysians, as seen in the stories of positivity and humanity, often with a sprinkle of humour, shared on social media.
Twitter user @farysnordyn, for example, was rescued in Raub after his express bus en route from Kota Baru to Kuala Lumpur stalled in floodwaters.
His tweets and videos that initially captured a worrying and uncertain situation as it unfolded, ended up shining a light on the kindness of strangers and the tireless efforts of rescue personnel.
“Our bus successfully went through the first flooded road and then encountered a second flooded road which, we had to make a U-turn and take alternative road,” he wrote.
“With the confidence we had during our encounter with the first flooded road, our bus decided to go through it once again. And tada!!!!! We are suddenly floating gaissss.
“The engine died and the driver tried to start it again but failed. First the a/c and lights were functioning, but then, pooooofff! The whole bus blacked out.
“As people started to stand and panic, the water floods the first deck of the bus. People from that deck went up to the second deck to save themselves from the flood.
“Lucky for us, Bomba showed up quickly to rescue us. They were on standby at that place fortunately! And lucky again for us, our bus drowned near a local masjid too! So we have a place for shelter alhamdulillah.”
Here I recorded the flood when we were escaping through the second deck emergency exit. Boats came to and fro the exit on a rescue boat to evacuate passengers to the mosque ✨ pic.twitter.com/NwOUwp4nVE— IntanPayung (@farysnordyn) January 5, 2021
Once safe and dry, he shared photos of his fellow passengers and families from the area seeking shelter at the mosque, noting: “My feet was super cold and we were sleeping on the ceramic floor. At that moment rasa macam dalam rancangan Survivor.”
It’s called Masjid Jeram Besu and it also shelters not only us but also families stranded since 6pm, 3 January. Cars were parked at the mosque compound and the masjid is cut off of power supply 🥲 pic.twitter.com/QsOJEOshLF— IntanPayung (@farysnordyn) January 5, 2021
He also tweeted a view from the mosque, with the double-decker bus still caught in floodwaters, taken the following morning.
Wake up in the morning to this view of our bus 😅😍 The whole first deck is submerged ✨ And so is our luggages 😘 pic.twitter.com/WnffO7s2WI— IntanPayung (@farysnordyn) January 5, 2021
He went on to express his gratitude to the people of Kampung Jeram Besu who provided the stranded passengers with food — even for their journey to Kuala Lumpur.
“Of course we also had limited food to fill us through the day. Alhamdulillah lucky for us the people of Kampung Jeram Besu were tremendously kind and welcoming,” he wrote.
“They cook food together and send them to the masjid for us the stranded people.”
Thank you Makcik Melor and the team for the food, kindness and hospitality ✨ Such kind hearts we have here 💕 pic.twitter.com/fPitOUofbC— IntanPayung (@farysnordyn) January 5, 2021
After being ferried by a Bomba boat and police truck to a new bus, @farysnordyn resumed his journey and arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, with what he called “a naturally printed batik shirt” as a souvenir of his experience in Raub.
Hanya mampu tersenyum je 🥲 pic.twitter.com/jy5GGzeviJ— IntanPayung (@farysnordyn) January 5, 2021
Meanwhile, in another heart-warming tweet, Twitter user @callmefye shared how an acquaintance in Pekan managed to save eight cats from the flood, carrying them in his boat as he paddled through the floodwaters.
Senior sekolah saya redah banjir selamatkan kucing. Moga Allah murahkan rezeki dia sekeluarga. Padahal rumah dia dah masuk air sampai kena pindah. Mulianya hati org macam ni. Aku yakin kucing-kucing tu akan doakan dia 🥺 Lokasi: Pekan Pahang. pic.twitter.com/C5QivuFydu— m.fairuz.j (@callmefye) January 5, 2021
On Facebook, noted social activist Ebit Lew has been working around the clock in Kuala Lipis, with 10 four-wheel drives and a boat to deliver clothing, food and money to the displaced.
“It is distressing to see the sight of schools, police stations, suraus, temples, vehicles and houses. All are submerged under water with only their roofs visible.
“Dear God how heavy is this trial for the people of Pahang. In some places there were no floods for decades, now a major disaster has struck,” he said.
Also, in Kuala Lipis, several dump truck drivers stepped forward to lend a helping hand to flood victims.
They were photographed ferrying people and items, and providing logistical support where it was needed the most.
Some even managed to remain in good humour despite the troubling times. One video on Twitter showed the employees of a restaurant preparing food even as floodwaters reached their ankles.
They could be seen chatting and laughing with each other, unperturbed by their surroundings as they worked to satisfy customer demands.
Mantap ah banjir-banjir still boleh berniaga 🤩👍 pic.twitter.com/YsqBMp0vQA— MighaPiljah (@Freissyann) January 5, 2021
The onset of the winter monsoon has led to massive floods, and in some cases, brought down structures — with the most seriously affected areas concentrated in several of Pahang’s districts.
Some rivers in the state have also reached critical levels, including Sungai Jelai, Sungai Tembeling, Sungai Kuantan, Sungai Lepar, and Sungai Pahang.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department said the season, which began on November 11 last year, is expected to continue until March.