Teenage Flood Victim Writes About Desperation In Kelantan And The Spirit Of Survival

Kelson Chong, a resident of Machang, Kelantan, and one of the hundreds of thousands of those affected by the flood, shares his experience, detailing how he went through it as floodwaters continued to rise.

Cover image via SAYS via KualaLumpurPost

"...the water level was increasing rapidly," Kelson begins his post, further writing how all he could do was to grab anything that he could think of. Putting everything including their dogs at the back of their car, he, along with a few others, evacuated their home.

"I can see the water level is increasing rapidly.

All we can do now is grabbing anything that we can think of. Dogs cried for help. We know we can't leave them behind. So I grabbed them and put them at the back of our car.

Evacuated from my home.

We went to the nearest school, saving what we can with helping each others. But a few minutes later the water reached the height of my chest and I can tell you I'm the tallest among us.

We went back to the school and parked our cars at the highest place we can locate."

Kelson's first-hand account of the floods, posted on Facebook on 27 December, helps us understand the level of desperation of affected Malaysians and the spirit of survival among them. Here's a summary:

Scarcity of food: There were 32 people and a few packets of bread. Knowing that they could not survive long with few packets of bread, still people helped each other. Some of them dived into the floodwaters and swam to the nearest coconut trees. "The coconuts really help to keep us energised."

Scenes of destruction in Manik Urai, Kelantan, where flood waters damaged basic infrastructure in several towns

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"With the total of 32 persons and only a few pack of bread. We still help each others even though we know it won't last long with just a few pack of bread.

Chewing on the bread, some of us managed to dived into the water and swim to the nearest coconut trees.

Coconut really help to energized us.

But we know we have to come-up with something else. Some of us still chewing on the bread, but we were lucky just even to have a few pack of bread to begin with."

Problem of clean water: Acknowledging how lucky they were to have a few packets of bread to begin with, it was important that they look for clean water to consume. They used metal cans to put out clean water and cooked instant noodles over candles.

Image used for illustration purposes only.

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"Changing our appetite is really the key to stay energized."

No sleep: In his deeply personal narrative, Kelson writes how they would hear the sound of people asking for help. But they could not do anything except feel sad for them. And sometimes the sound of a boat. "Not even a single person could sleep at that time."

One of the flood hit area in Kelantan

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"Weird sounds playing in our head, sometimes we could listen to the sound of people asking for help. Shouting "Help..!! Help..!!Help..!! " With the humanity that still exist in ourselves, we felt sad for them but we can't do anything. Sometimes the sound of a boat.

Not even a single person could sleep at that time. Imagination run wild.

We can see, our vehicles slowly devoured by the increasing flood. All we can do is watching from the third floors."

No help: The next morning, they contacted all the help they thought they could get. But due to the strong current of floodwaters, no one was ready to save them. Kelson understood the situation was pretty bad for anyone to come to the rescue.

"We tried to ask for food and transportation if possible because we know the flood will still continue increasing for a few more days, probably weeks. Sometimes I stole some cookies for my dogs because they are starving too, just like us.

At dawn, the sound of the boat cracked our blurred sight. We shouted, trying to ask for food.

The boat went by a few times but mostly they will only ignored us."

Detailing how they thought their only chance was to cling to hope, a boat they saw at a far distance suddenly became their last chance at survival

"We just look at the boat and try to look for miracles. We saw a person sitting in the boat and he was our close friend, who has an amazing experience steering the boat without getting caught with the trees under the flood.

They come and bring us some food."

"I mean real food like rice, fried chicken and stuff. The moment we saw the food, tears started flowing from our eyes."

"We remembered every single moment of our life that we didn't appreciate stuff that we had.

Now we know and learn to appreciate food that we have.

After we ate, I collect the leftovers from the others and make sure every single dog have something to eat.

Staring into their eyes, I realised that they are also breathing creatures just like us, humans."

Just then, they heard the sound of the same boat, coming back to get them to safety. But the boat could only take three person at a time. Detailing how the boat ride was a scary experience, they did what they had to do to survive.

Pilots of Royal Malaysian Air Force EC275 Cougar put their helicopter in hover, an RMAF commando (PASKAU) carrying essentials is winched down to waiting inflatables boats. The supplies are then delivered to flood victims seeking refuge at this school in Manik Urai, Kota Baru, Kelantan.

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"As I was sitting in the boat heading towards safer ground, I can see the water nearly entering the boat sides and it got me thinking about my family and friends left at the school.

When I reached the highway, the roadside was muddy and slippery. I climbed my way up with all the might I have left and waited there for the others to reach.

I had no choice but to leave my dogs behind. Because the boat was too small to fit for everything. But before I left them, I made sure the leftovers was given to them.

Hours went by and finally everyone arrived safely at the roadside."

He wrote how he can never forget the time when he asked for help but was ignored, how the food supplies were getting fewer, about his house… all to be let go off because safety first. "Now I'm just thinking, what if…"

"-The school collapse.

-There was no boat. Would we still be alive?

-The water level increased and we have no place to go.

-The boat flipped during the rescue mission.

Questions keep popping out of my head. Everything is gone. Now we have nothing. But, most importantly everyone is safe, so I’m very thankful for that.

We are currently at one of the help centres for flood victims. Hopefully everything is okay..."

Upon reaching the roadside, everyone was emotional as they could finally meet their siblings and friends. "We were then transported to the nearest centre for flood victims."

"Everyone was transported to the nearest help center for the flood victims.

After I've reached the place where all the flood victims had gathered. I saw everyone was terrified with what had happened to their house. I myself felt the same."

"As we were organised to a place to stay, I went out to buy foods and stuff. As I walk down to the car, the surrounding was totally different. The market was filled with people rushing in and out."

A victim of the devastating east coast floods is seen here carrying aid in the town of Manik Urai in Kelantan, as the waters seem to have receded on 30 December.

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"I walked in, with my parents and I grabbed anything I can get from the shelves. People started pushing around and I noticed there's blood on my shirt. I thought I cut myself but it was just a little cut from the boat ride. The situations was horrible."

Fight for survival: The situation made him worry more and more, prompting him to take everything that he thought was important and running back to the place where he thought it would be safe

"After keeping everything in my room, I went out to buy medicine. Every clinics in the district was filled with people. I squeezed myself to buy things that my parents needed."

He shared how at that point of time:

-people would kill for food

-people would steal for food

-people would lie for food

-people would do anything to survive

He hoped everything would turn out to be okay. Kelson shared his account on 27 December 2014. This map, from 1 January 2015, shows the latest number of evacuees in Kelantan and other states.

Number of evacuees

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See what's left of the villages now...

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