Senior Citizens Suffered The Most In Penang Floods

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Pic: theSun (Caretaker of Gan En Zhi Jia Home for the aged at Lengkok P. Ramlee, helps old folks have their meals)Pic: theSun (Caretaker of Gan En Zhi Jia Home for the aged at Lengkok P. Ramlee, helps old folks have their meals)

GEORGE TOWN: Senior citizens have been the main victims in following the massive floods in Penang, as their restricted movement has resulted in them been being easily overpowered by surging flood waters.

Out of the six Malaysians who perished in Penang, three were senior citizens, who drowned or died as a result of shock after watching the flood water rise within hours.

For octogenarian, Kon Siew Sim, 80, she was left stranded in a room and she had to waddle through the floods where the waters reached her chest.

"It was the worst ever experience in my life," Kon said.

Kon said she was already asleep on that night but woke up at 2am.

She was shocked to see the water rapidly rise within hours.

Despite the rising water, Kon decided to keep calm and slowly walked out of her room.

She said that she was lucky that the caretaker of the old folks home was there to rescue her and other occupants.

"We were carried to safety by our caretaker and before I can remember, we were already at a surau in Taman Free School", he told theSun when met Gan En Zhi Jia Home for the aged at Lengkok P. Ramlee.

Kon from Balik Pulau said she has been living at the homes since two – years ago and the floods was the worst she had ever experienced.

Mirroring the same feeling was Jean Peterson, 71, who said that the floods gave her the scariest experience ever.

She thought that the world was going to end soon for her, as she had difficulty walking because of an earlier operation.

Peterson said that she was lucky as she was rescued in the nick of time.

"It was terrible. I was scared to death," she said.

Another fellow occupant of the home, Lim Koay Fong, 57, said that he had no idea that the flood was bad.

He said at that time he could only think of how he and the others somehow managed to survive.

"The storm also scared us," he said.

The caretaker of the home Peter Tan said that at the time of incident, there were about 12 senior citizens in the home.

Tan said he was also there as it has been routine for him to take turns with other volunteers to take care at the homes.

He said at one time the home can accommodate about 12 people.

"When the water level rose, I quickly prepared the boat that we bought, with the help of our donors, folowing the Sept 15 floods.

"And at about midnight I decided to evacuate the residents who were bedridden and slowly put them in a boat.

"At about 2am the flood already reached neck level at the main road and we could not cross over to the temple. (They had used the temple for shelter during the last major flood incident on Sept 15)", he said.

However, a man from a surau nearby rescued them and brought them to the surau for shelter as the current was too fast.

Tan also expressed his condolences on the death of one member of another old folks care centre – the Paschal Homes at Jalan P. Ramlee which was also apparently under the care of Gan En Zhi Jia Bhd.

"I tried to save them when the flood happened, but the flood and water current was violent", he said adding that he was informed that there was one death at Paschal Homes.

He said that the homes he manages, are nursing centres for senior citizens.

One has been closed and all of its residents were taken home by their family members since the tragedy claimed the life of one of its residents.

Tan also thanked the public, who have been donating goods and essentials for the home.

He however feels that if there are donors, who were willing to sponsor them a new place, he will be more than happy to accept it.

"What we need now is a new place for us, a safer and better place for the senior citizens."

- theSun