PETALING JAYA: From making light-hearted jokes to praying, Malaysians are resorting to various ways to help them cope with the trauma and anxiety from the massive flooding.

Whenever Asfalili Kasim hears the sound of thunder, she gets anxious and if rain starts to pour, she will not sleep.

The 42-year-old graphic artist said she had to be on high alert so that if the water were to rise again, she would have time to save her family as well as her personal belongings.

Although it has been more than two weeks, Asfalili still remembers vividly the horror of floodwater rising rapidly after it rained continuously.

“It was so scary as the water kept on rising and rising,” she recalled.

She is worried for her 96-year-old grandmother who is staying with her.

“It was the first time that we experienced such a terrible flood. Although I am working from home, I have to take care of my 71-year-old mother and granny,” she said.

She isn’t alone. Many Malaysians admitted to feeling anxious whenever dark clouds appear.

When it starts to rain, their worries are compounded, especially for those living in some of the hardest hit areas – Taman Sri Muda in Shah Alam and Kajang – where lives were lost.

Asfalili has been cleaning up her house since the flood, that began Dec 18, started to recede. Yet, she is not done yet.

“There is still plenty of cleaning to be done. To stop myself from getting anxious, I talk to my siblings, make jokes with them and also pray to God for the situation to get better,” she added.

Grocery store owner Tee Tze Wei, 42, said she would get nervous whenever a continuous downpour occured at her housing area in Pandamaran, Klang.

“I get worried whenever the skies turn dark. This has been going on for the past two weeks,” she said.

“And we were told that the tides will be high in the next few days.”

Tee said she too was worried about her elderly parents, aged 66 and 72, who lived with her.

“I worry about their safety,” she said, adding that her family business of 49 years was badly affected by the floods.

“A few weeks ago, floodwater flowed into my shop so quickly that I could not move my goods to higher ground.”

Tee said, in past years, the water level would be around 15cm high.

“This time, the water was more than 60cm. Everything happened so quickly. Within 10 minutes, my shop was flooded,” she said, adding that she estimated her loss to be around RM50,000.

Following the high tide warning, Tee is taking extra precautions.

“We have also put our important items on a higher ground.”

Asfalili and Tee aren’t the only ones preparing for flooding.

Annoyed with the constant flooding to their homes, a group of residents in Jalan Marikat Batu 9, Kampung Mawai in Kota Tinggi, Johor, has taken the initiative to build a 300m drainage system using their own money.

A resident, Nur Azizan Morshidi, 35, told Bernama that the residents collected RM500 to rent an excavator to carry out the work last month.

She said the initiative worked.

“Floodwater did not enter our homes. Previously when it rains, the water level would rise up to our calves,” she said.

Nur Azizan said cupboards and mattresses used to be damaged.

“We could not salvage anything and that is the reason why we hired professionals to dig the drain,” she said at SK Mawai flood relief centre yesterday.

A mother of one, Nur Azizan had been staying in the area for the past five years.