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Wednesday, 25 October 2017 00:00

Emergency Relief for Rainstorm Victims

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, Mentakab / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Taman Saga in Mentakab was struck by a rainstorm. Tzu Chi volunteers were swiftly mobilized to assess the situation and provide relief cash to the affected victims. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]

After the onslaught of a destructive rainstorm in Taman Saga, Mentakab, 22 volunteers in eight teams set off to the severely affected areas to assess the situation. On October 25, 2017, and amidst the drizzling rain, a cash relief distribution was carried out for 65 affected households (comprising 17 Chinese, 16 Malay and 32 Indian).


On October 23, 2017, a destructive rainstorm struck Taman Saga in Mentakab around 5 pm. When the rain stopped, volunteer Huang Zhen Fa rushed to volunteer Pong Pou Ying’s house to seek help. He described in a panic how his rooftop was lifted up by the strong wind, and that rainwater had leaked into the house, soaking mattresses and furniture. He was worried about further damages if the rain continued. Hearing that, Pou Ying and her husband set off to the site immediately to find out more about the situation.

Upon arrival, some politicians, media reporters and members of local civil societies were seen caring for the victims. The local councillor advised the victims to lodge police reports and register themselves. While distributing material aid to the victims, he also promised to fix their rooftops for free. As many residents were affected, Pou Ying quickly contacted volunteers, Lim Seo Hoe and Chew Siew Li, to join her in comforting and caring for the victims, which included volunteers, Sam Sau Lan and Yeo Lay Foon, as well as, two Tzu Chi care recipients.

Extending humanitarian care

At 9 am the following day (October 24), 22 volunteers from Temerloh went to the affected areas to extend humanitarian care to the victims. Volunteer Chong Kam Wa gently reminded everyone to bear in mind the Tzu Chi spirit of empathy, gratitude, respect and love during home visits.

There were soaked mattresses, discarded furniture, uprooted trees, and so on, along the way. Most of the victims’ rooftops were damaged and the water leaks drenched the floors, causing massive mess in the houses. Some ceiling fans and lights were also damaged by the water, and there was power failure.

The victims were happy to see Tzu Chi volunteers, and they gave their full cooperation. Some even took the initiative to report the damages caused and described the situations when the rainstorm struck. Their sorrows, especially the Indians who had just celebrated the Deepavali, were felt. They were deeply touched and grateful for the timely care and comfort extended by the volunteers.

Love amidst the drizzling rain

Sincere care is the best medicine for the helpless victims. During home visits, volunteers discovered that a Malay victim, Fauzal bin Yaakub, injured his waist and had mobility difficulty due to a fall from the rooftop while repairing it. Volunteers quickly sent him to the hospital for treatment, and prepared some instant food for his family members to fill their stomachs.

Misfortunes never came singly for Ramesh a/l Subramaniam. Apart from lifted rooftops, the incessant rain throughout the night dampened his house and filled the air with a musty smell. There was also power failure at his house. As head of the family, he was calm in handling the situation by arranging for his child, who was going to sit for the SPM examinations the following day, to take shelter at his relative’s house. He was grateful that his family members were safe and sound although his house was badly damaged.

As the rain and strong wind continued to strike the affected areas, volunteers carried out relief efforts in full swing. On October 25, a cash relief distribution was conducted for 65 affected households amidst the drizzling rain. By then, many victims were still worried about the repair costs for their roofs.

Beyond races and religions

According to 61-year-old Abdul Rahman bin Chik, only his wife and grandchildren were with him at home when the rainstorm hit, while his five sons were working outstation. He was deeply moved by the care and concern, as well as, the timely cash aid, extended by Tzu Chi volunteers to the victims regardless of race and religion. He wished that such noble spirit could be planted in everyone’s heart, and bring about a peaceful and harmonious society. Holding the relief cash in his hands, he was full of gratitude and promised to make good use of the money.

Salabiah and her daughter, Rohani, both suffered the same fate. They were still fearful when they related the damages caused by the rainstorm to their houses. Salabiah was home alone when the ceiling collapsed in front of her, and Rohani witnessed the power of the strong wind blowing through from the front of her house. Rohani is a homemaker and she had heard about Tzu Chi rendering assistance to those in need regardless of race and religion before. Now, receiving the help herself, she was deeply touched.

She commended the volunteers for their friendly smiles and attitude, which made her feel at ease despite being a beneficiary. She described Tzu Chi as “suci” (a Malay word literally translate as “holy”). Joyfully, she brought a bamboo bank home and said that she will educate her children to save their loose change in it to help the needy. She added, “I used to work as a personal assistant to an ex-assemblyman and I am proficient in Malay and English. I hope to have the opportunity to participate in Tzu Chi’s activities and undertake the task of translation in future.”

Paying forward Great Love

A factory worker, Ukthidevan a/l Annamalai, was thankful to receive the relief cash from Tzu Chi. He shared that he would use the money to buy furniture and mattresses for his children. He was caught off-guard at the sudden storm and was helpless with the damages. Nevertheless, his mind was calmed by the timely assistance from Tzu Chi. He also brought home a bamboo bank, hoping to share his love and help the needy.

Lv Yan Li, a home maker described, “A loud noise from the rooftop was heard and rain poured in from the ceilings into the living room and bedrooms. My husband and I were shocked at the sudden event. We immediately woke up our three children and started to shift the furniture.”

Yan Li’s family members have been Tzu Chi monthly donors for many years. Besides sending recyclables to the recycling centre, she and her husband are also regular readers of Tzu Chi monthly magazine. She said, “It’s probably because we have been exposed to Tzu Chi’s information that we are able to accept this misfortune and face it strongly and calmly instead of blaming and complaining.” She experienced Great Love through Tzu Chi’s assistance, and remarked that the roof repair costs would be a financial burden without the relief aid from Tzu Chi. She promised to volunteer with Tzu Chi to help others after her children have grown up and start schooling.

Learnt to be appreciative

Upon receiving the news about the rainstorm near her residential area, volunteer Wong Sok Lan called fellow volunteer, Sam Sau Lan, immediately to send her commiseration. She did not expect the disaster to happen and the narrow escape made her to better understand the law of impermanence. Hence, she seized the opportunity to join the home visit and disaster assessment team, and had no complaints despite having to walk under the hot sun for three hours.

During the home visits, Sok Lan was deeply moved when she noticed that some residents had cared for and helped one another, despite being strangers, after the rainstorm struck. Through this experience, she has learnt to empathize with the victims’ misery and complaints. She said, “Whenever I come across those lonely elderly or those suffering from illnesses, I am truly grateful for what I have now, and I think contentment is a real blessing.”

Although the rainstorm destroyed many houses and caused losses to the residents, the timely care and love from Tzu Chi volunteers has warmed the hearts and boosted the spirit of the victims to overcome this difficult period.

 

 

Many rooftops were damaged by the rainstorm, causing serious losses to the residents. [Photograph by Loh Thiam Huat]   Through home visits, volunteers discovered that furniture in the houses of many victims were soaked by the rain. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]

Many rooftops were damaged by the rainstorm, causing serious losses to the residents. [Photograph by Loh Thiam Huat]
 
Through home visits, volunteers discovered that furniture in the houses of many victims were soaked by the rain. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]
 
Both Salabiah (left) and her daughter, Rohani (right), brought home a bamboo bank each to reciprocate the kindness received. Rohani expressed her intention to educate her children to save their loose change in the bamboo bank to help the needy. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]   Ukthidevan was grateful for the timely assistance rendered by Tzu Chi volunteers. It calmed his mind and enabled him to foresee a better tomorrow. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]

Both Salabiah (left) and her daughter, Rohani (right), brought home a bamboo bank each to reciprocate the kindness received. Rohani expressed her intention to educate her children to save their loose change in the bamboo bank to help the needy. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]
 
 
Ukthidevan was grateful for the timely assistance rendered by Tzu Chi volunteers. It calmed his mind and enabled him to foresee a better tomorrow. [Photograph by Lai Nyok Chan]