Jahai villages still flooded
Published: 28 February 2015
The December 2014 floods caused much devastation and anguish for many people in northern Perak and Kelantan. But the waters receded soon after and the affected people had to clean up the mud and debris (if their homes were not destroyed) and start living again.
However, for the Jahai communities fringing the Temenggor Dam in Upper Perak, some of them are still in flood mode. Some of the submerged houses remain submerge despite the rains having stopped more than a month ago.
This is what we saw in the Chuweh and Tebang Baru hamlets on the banks of the Temenggor dam in Grik.
Why? Because the TNB people managing the Temenggor hydro-electric dam choose to retain the water in the lake, rather than let it revert to the pre-flood levels.
This would make sense. After all, these are what dams are for. But then, why were Orang Asli homes, some of them official ones built by the government, allowed to be constructed below the dam's maximum water level?
[Photos by Colin Nicholas & Koong Hui Yein]
CN-COAC | 28 February 2015
Some of the lower houses in Kampung Chuweh were flooded at the end of December. These houses are still submerged today.
The flooding looks sets to be a permanent feature since the height of the water level is determined by TNB, the owners of the dam.
One would have thought that when these government-issued houses were built, they would know the maximum height the dam's water can reach.
During the height of the flood, the water level reached here. Which means the level of the dam's wall is this high, and as such all construction should be way above this line.
As it is, even with receded waters, the water reaches the doorsteps.
The prolonged high levels of water has resulted in the death of trees fringing the lake.
Landslips are also common as a result of the heavy rains before, and the loosening of the soil due to the sustained higher levels of water.
But life goes on in the village.
Like other Orang Asli communities affected by the floods, families are living in temporary shelters now.
Flying a flag upside down is the international signal of dire distress. Perhaps the residents of this house knew this.