Strangers saved us, now it’s our turn to help, says Shah Alam flood victim

Muhd Munzir Mustapha, his wife, and their five children, aged between one and nine, spent two terrifying days trapped on the upper floor of their Taman Sri Muda home in Shah Alam.

Non-stop torrential rain lashed the country last Friday. The downpour lasted for three days, easing off only on Sunday morning.

As the floodwaters slowly inched higher, the martial arts instructor was getting desperate. Homes all around were inundated. In some places, the water level reached the roofs.

Attempts to get help proved futile. Munzir and his young family had nowhere to run to as the water closed in.

Just as it seemed that all hope was lost, help finally came. But it came from the most unexpected of places.

“A man came in a boat and provided us with vegetarian food. He assured us there was no meat in it,” said Munzir, popularly known as Coach EJ.

“After two days of waiting, a friend managed to inform a non-governmental organisation about our predicament. A boat was dispatched to us.

“No government agency helped us,” said Munzir, with a hint of bitterness.

Since then, Munzir and his family had been staying at his office, also located in Shah Alam.

Munzir, who has been staying at his home in Jalan Kebajikan 25/76 for the past 11 years, said the ordeal that he and his family endured, left him “speechless”.

“That’s the best word to describe what I feel at the moment,” said Munzir.

“For starters, we’ve never experienced such floods. In the 11 years I’ve stayed here, the worst, was just knee-deep.

“To be trapped in our home for two days, with no electricity and food, virtually cut off from help … And then to see the floodwaters continue to rise …” Munzir let his voice trail off.

Clearly, he could not bear to articulate in words the horror that he would have to confront if the unthinkable had happened to his wife and young children.

“When I visited my home on Tuesday … I was at a loss for words. The devastation was almost total.

He returned home again earlier today to begin the long, painful, and arduous process of cleaning up his house.

His Proton Persona was a complete write-off, but he hoped to be able to salvage his Toyota Estima. Everything else in his house was destroyed.

“Today is the start of the process to rebuild our lives. My wife suggested that we move out of the area for the safety of our family.

“But I’ve been living in this house for 11 years … even before I got married. I’ve been building this home throughout, buying furniture, and maintaining it. And now everything is destroyed.”

Munzir, however, admitted that his immediate focus now was to source for cleaning equipment.

“Brooms, cleaning items, mops, hoses, waterjets, dustpans… they are all sold out in our area. If anyone wants to help out, please bring such items over.”

Munzir is also determined to help other flood victims clean up their homes. He has reached out to some friends to help him in his quest.

“Family and friends showed their concern by calling us, ensuring that we were okay. Strangers fed us, and plucked us out of danger, with little to no regard for their own safety.

“I believe that every good deed must be repaid with another good deed.

“It’s now my time to help others,” he added.

Meanwhile, Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said, as at 12.41pm today, 29,024 individuals had been placed at 192 temporary relief centres in the state.

Many had returned to clean their homes, assisted by state government agencies, local councils, and volunteers.

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