Sunday, Jul 22nd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Monday, 05 March 2018 00:00

In Times of Misfortune, Love Prevails

Written by  Yap Soo Lan, Kota Kinabalu,Sabah / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Volunteers were mobilized to assess the situation and conduct a cash relief distribution after a fire occurred at Kampung Lembaga Padi, Likas. [Photograph by Lee Chee Keong]

On March 1, 2018, when many were getting ready to celebrate the last day of the Lunar New Year, more than 100 people in Kampung Lembaga Padi, Likas, lost their homes in a fire that broke out at around 4 am. Fortunately, no casualties was reported.


On March 5, after receiving the news, 11 volunteers from Tzu Chi Kota Kinabalu set off to make assessment for relief aid. The stilt-houses that used to accommodate hundred odd people were razed to the ground. Fortunately, all the residents survived the ordeal.

Fire victim Mohd Shahpul bin Taruizi Shaffiee was seen walking on the ruins of his house, with his child tagging along. He said, “I hope to find some metal in exchange for cash.” His soot covered hands from scavenging revealed the despair of being homeless.

Immediate relief

At Dewan Serbaguna Likas, where the fire victims sought temporary shelter, 29-year-old Nurmini Atun settled down at a corner with her four young children. As her husband was working outstation when the fire struck, she had to drag and carry all her children to safety herself. She expressed, “Although everything was destroyed in the fire, I am relieved that all my children are safe.”

Eighteen-year-old Suhada Halbi informed the volunteers, “My son is left with only the clothes he is wearing now.” Suhada had just given birth to her baby boy a week ago and the new clothes she got for him were all burnt. On hearing that, volunteer Chia Joo Heang was overwhelmed with empathy. She immediately went to the Tzu Chi Kolombong Recycling Centre to get some second-hand clothes and returned to the temporary shelter to distribute them to the victims. Sadness was replaced with radiant smiles when the victims received the clothes that are clean and in good condition.

 A total of 168 people comprising 106 adults and 62 children, were affected by the fire disaster. After a meeting, volunteers decided to provide immediate relief to the victims. Hence, they returned to the temporary shelter on the same day to distribute cash aid to the 29 households.

Victim Sayarah, who was taking shelter at her relative’s house, told the volunteers happily, “I have cash for daily necessities now!” Majority of the victims are construction workers. Tzu Chi’s immediate relief came timely when they were in helplessness and despair, and they were deeply moved. Some even hugged the volunteers to express their gratitude. In spite of misfortune, there are warmth and loving-kindness in humanity.

With bamboo banks (coin banks) in their hands, volunteers encouraged the villagers to donate within their means to help others, for helping others brings joy to oneself. Many were seen responding to the volunteers’ call, to spread their kindness to others.

 

 

The houses were razed to the ground. [Photograph by Tse Ning Siong]   Many fire victims returned to the disaster site, hoping to find recyclables that they could sell for money, to provide some relief for their predicament. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]

The houses were razed to the ground. [Photograph by Tse Ning Siong]
 
Many fire victims returned to the disaster site, hoping to find recyclables that they could sell for money, to provide some relief for their predicament. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]
 
Many of the fire victims were unable to save their   belongings when the fire broke out. Volunteers brought them second-hand clothes that are clean and in good condition. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]   The cash aid from Tzu Chi was of great help to Sayarah (in red shirt). She happily donated in the bamboo bank to reciprocate the love she received. [Photograph by Ong Tuen Yiok]

Many of the fire victims were unable to save their belongings when the fire broke out. Volunteers brought them second-hand clothes that are clean and in good condition. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]
 
 
The cash aid from Tzu Chi was of great help to Sayarah (in red shirt). She happily donated in the bamboo bank to reciprocate the love she received. [Photograph by Ong Tuen Yiok]