Thursday, Nov 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 22 October 2017 00:00

Sending Love to Landslide Victims

Written by  Ng Wei Kiat, Kota Kinabalu / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Volunteers presented relief cash and foldable mattresses to the landslide victims respectfully. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]

A landslide destroyed six houses at Kampung Kolam Damai due to incessant heavy rain for days. Upon receiving the news, Tzu Chi volunteers in Kota Kinabalu set off to assess the situation and obtain details for aid relief. On October 22, 2017, volunteers delivered relief cash and foldable mattresses to 34 affected villagers at Komplex Sukan Penampang.


Kampung Kolam Damai is situated in a rural hillside of Penampang, Sabah. The residents are mainly from outstation making a livelihood there. Due to incessant heavy rain, a landslide occurred at the village on October 20, 2017. The houses of 34 residents from nine households were completely destroyed. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

A victim, Bonis bin Lolo, recalled vividly the incident: “I just returned home for breakfast after work and suddenly, a loud noise of wood collapsing from the hillside was heard. My family and I quickly ran for our lives.” As the landslide struck unexpectedly, Bonis could only manage to take with him some important documents before his house was destroyed.

Immediate actions

A day after the landslide, Tzu Chi volunteers from Kota Kinabalu went to the affected area to carry out assessments for aid relief. What came into sight were heaps of ruins with pieces of wood and roof tiles scattered around, and electrical items and furniture buried in the soil. An unpleasant smell permeated the air after the heavy rain. People from the local Civil Defense Department were present to clean and clear the mess. The Social Welfare Department sheltered the affected victims at Komplek Sukan Penampang and provided them with some daily necessities and medications.

Volunteers cared for the victims and acquired further information from the Social Welfare Department before compiling the list of victims. Guided by volunteers, the victims registered themselves in an orderly manner.

At around 2.30 pm on October 22, volunteers departed for Kompleks Sukan Penampang for the emergency aid distribution. Upon arrival, they quickly prepared the venue and set up registration counters for verifications of beneficiaries’ identities. They also extended their care and concern to the victims prior to the commencement of the distribution.

Touched by the kindness

“Despite racial differences, we are one family...” A volunteer read aloud the letter from Master Cheng Yen, who sent her regards to the victims, and conveyed to them the origins of Tzu Chi. Everyone was touched by the Master’s selfless love.

“Thank you, may you be blessed…” Volunteers presented the relief cash and foldable mattresses respectfully, and that moved the beneficiaries deeply. They could feel the volunteers’ spirit of Great Love that transcended racial and religious differences.

A victim, Catherine Galap, expressed her heartfelt appreciation: “I am so touched. Not only do you extend your care to us personally, but you also come to deliver timely material aid. I am truly grateful to all of you.” She added, “I was at the clinic for a follow-up visit when the landslide occurred. Luckily my neighbour called to inform me about it.” Catherine was still in shock while recalling the unfortunate event. Volunteers’ care had comforted and eased her mind.

Ripples of love

“Because we are family, we can count on each another and are grateful of one another……” After the distribution, volunteers led the villagers to perform a sign language interpretation of the song, “We Are Family”. The lyrics conveyed the sincere care and love from the volunteers, and some villagers were moved to tears.

At the end of the event, volunteers introduced the spirit of the Bamboo Bank Era to the victims, explaining to them the power of collective little kindness for a greater good cause. The victims responded generously by dropping loose change they had into the bamboo banks. Jasrina Jamil was one of them who emptied her pockets, showing her full support.

She said, “After hearing the sharing of volunteers’ kind deeds, I am inspired to help others too.” Despite being homeless now, an empathic Jasrina still donated all her loose change, hoping that her little kindness could be of help to those who shared the same woe.

Hopefully, with timely aid and care from volunteers, the victims would stay strong as they get through this difficult time.

The aid distribution had mobilized a total of 16 volunteers, and benefitted 34 victims from 9 households. A total of 9 cash aid and 34 foldable mattresses were distributed.

 

 

Incessant heavy rain that lasted for days caused a landslide at Kampung Kolam Damai, affecting nine households. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]   Volunteers led the villagers to perform a sign language interpretation of the song, “We Are Family”. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]

Incessant heavy rain that lasted for days caused a landslide at Kampung Kolam Damai, affecting nine households. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]
 
Volunteers led the villagers to perform a sign language interpretation of the song, “We Are Family”. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]
 
An empathic Jasrina donated all her loose change to help those who are in a similar situation. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]   Catherine was still in shock while recalling the unfortunate event. Volunteers quickly comforted her and eased her mind. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]

An empathic Jasrina donated all her loose change to help those who are in a similar situation. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]
 
 
Catherine was still in shock while recalling the unfortunate event. Volunteers quickly comforted her and eased her mind. [Photograph by Ng Wei Kiat]