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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 02 January 2015 00:00

Great Love to Flood Victims in Lipis, Pahang

Written by  Gan Chian Nee & Tee Kim Wooi, Pahang / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Volunteer Ch’ng Eng Guat chatted, consoled and persuaded Granny Mekti to eat the lunch specially packed for her. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

An old couple, who refused to go to the relief centre, took shelter in a tent set up by their neighbours outside their mud-filled home. Seeing her ruined house and unable to clean it up, Granny Mekti felt depressed and was consoled by Tzu Chi volunteer, Ch’ng Eng Guat.


 
In 2004, when a severe storm hit Kuala Lipis, Tan Ah Hong, who was then the President of a local Buddhist Society, got to know Tzu Chi. Tzu Chi volunteers came from afar to help the victims, and this act of kindness had touched Ah Hong, who is now a Tzu Chi volunteer. Many years later in 2014, Lipis was again hit by a rare and severe flooding; and she became the main contact person for Tzu Chi in gathering information on the disaster, as well as, guiding volunteers from Central and Southern regions on home visits.
 
In Pahang, numerous areas, and especially along the river, were affected by the flood on December 24, 2014. The worst-hit area had a water level as high as 10m. The 625 displaced families (2,461 victims) were housed in 18 relief centres. KL & Selangor’s Relief Teams led by Team Leader, Lee Ley Hua, arrived at Tzu Chi Raub Liaison Office around 4 pm on December 27. Ley Hua and Woh Wai Ching of Raub Liaison Office then contacted volunteer Ah Hong to learn more about the situation. Having obtained the information, the Relief Teams then proceeded to two of the relief centres, SJK(C) Chung Hwa and SMK Clifford.
 
On December 28, the Relief Teams were despatched in two groups to survey the situation in Sungai Koyan, Kerambit and Padang Tengku.
 
On December 29, the first aid distribution for 60 families was conducted in Lipis by 43 volunteers. It was the first time the flood victims heard about Tzu Chi and they were very keen to know more about this charitable organization. Hence, volunteers took the opportunity to introduce Tzu Chi and its four major missions. After learning about the founding of Tzu Chi, the flood victims gladly adopted a Bamboo Bank each. The ustaz (religious teacher), who led the prayers, also agreed with the Bamboo Bank philosophy and he too adopted one.
 
‘Great Love’ by Tzu Chi
 
Lipis is a district in Pahang, approximately 170 km from Kuala Lumpur. During the British occupation in the 19th century, it was the Capital of Pahang and the economic centre of the State. In 1953, it was replaced by Kuantan as the State Capital. Lipis is now a small and quiet town.
 
When a rare and severe storm hit Kuala Lipis in June 2004, Tzu Chi volunteers from Kuala Lumpur and Raub rushed to the town to provide relief efforts. This had deeply moved Ah Hong, then President of a local Buddhist Society. She later put on the Tzu Chi vest and followed volunteers on their house-to-house visits to care for the affected victims.
 
Ang Kim Seng, a Tzu Chi volunteer from Klang, has often travelled between Klang and Lipis to promote recycling through tea parties and green initiative gatherings. Since then, Ah Hong has started to actively promote Tzu Chi and influence other spiritual friends, who have the desire to help, to become Tzu Chi volunteers.
 
Home visits in affected areas
 
On January 2, 2015, home visits in Lipis were carried out on 4-wheeldrive vehicles by 200 (120 from KL & Selangor and 80 from Melaka) volunteers.
 
Volunteers visited an old Malay couple, who took shelter in a tent set up by their neighbours outside their mud-filled home. This couple had refused to stay at the evacuation centre and were unable to clean-up their house. Seeing their home ruined by floodwaters, Mekti bte Mohd Kassim, who has blurred vision, felt depressed and had no appetite. Tzu Chi volunteer, Ch’ng Eng Guat knelt beside her to comfort her, talk to her, make her laugh and persuade her to eat.
 
Her husband, Abad Rahman, who has a hearing problem, informed that despite having registered themselves as flood victims, no one from the authorities had visited or assisted them thus far. Tzu Chi volunteers recorded their details on file with the hope of providing further assistance. As the focus that day was mainly on home care, and not on large scale clean-up that would require more manpower, volunteers could only clear the walkway by removing the large broken furniture, and scrub the kitchen and toilet for the couple to use for the time being.
 
Nazibibi Basira bte Jamarudin, an elderly resident in Kuala Lipis, also found her home badly damaged. On December 24, when rising floodwaters began entering villagers’ house at around 11 pm, everyone immediately rushed to a nearby school for shelter. On January 2, the granny’s daughter from Kuala Lumpur came to help clean-up the house.
 
Besides home visits, volunteers also revisited the Kerambit evacuation centre to check on their latest situation. According to the village chief, the number of evacuees had dropped from more than 100 families (over 400 people) to some 30 families (over 100 people), as everyone had gone home to begin their clean-up activities. The village chief also led volunteers to visit the Kerambit affected areas.
 
The town had been submerged in floodwaters that could reach a two-storey building. As there was still no water and electricity supply, the adults and children had to use water from the river to clean-up their homes. Volunteers then followed the children to the river and helped transport buckets of water using their 4-wheeldrive vehicles.
 
 
After the home visits, Tzu Chi will compile the list of flood victims, and continue with the assessment, massive clean-up and aid distribution to the flood victims. Tzu Chi has indeed provided aid and care to all the needy, irrespective of race, colour and religion.
 
 
Refusing to stay at the relief centre and unable to clean-up their house, Granny Mekti and her husband took shelter in a tent set up for them by their neighbours outside their house. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]   Volunteers helped the old couple move the big mattress from the house to the open space outside. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

Refusing to stay at the relief centre and unable to clean-up their house, Granny Mekti and her husband took shelter in a tent set up for them by their neighbours outside their house. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
Volunteers helped the old couple move the big mattress from the house to the open space outside. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
Grandpa Abad Rahman, who has a hearing problem, informed that despite having registered themselves as flood victims, no one from the authorities had visited or assisted thus far. [Photograph by Choo Wai Lun]   Volunteers helped the old couple to clear the walkway by removing the large broken furniture, and scrub the kitchen and toilet for the couple to use temporarily. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

Grandpa Abad Rahman, who has a hearing problem, informed that despite having registered themselves as flood victims, no one from the authorities had visited or assisted thus far. [Photograph by Choo Wai Lun]
 
 
Volunteers helped the old couple to clear the walkway by removing the large broken furniture, and scrub the kitchen and toilet for the couple to use temporarily. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
Volunteers navigated carefully through the mud.[Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   Damaged items were dumped in a heap in the street, causing an accumulation of garbage. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

Volunteers navigated carefully through the mud.[Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
 
Damaged items were dumped in a heap in the street, causing an accumulation of garbage. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
Nazibibi, an elderly resident who lives alone, has experienced four flooding. She is used to Kuala Lipis and does not want to leave. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]   Nazibibi’s son-in-law helped to clear the pathway by removing the large furniture. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

Nazibibi, an elderly resident who lives alone, has experienced four flooding. She is used to Kuala Lipis and does not want to leave. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
 
Nazibibi’s son-in-law helped to clear the pathway by removing the large furniture. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
The village chief led volunteers to visit Kerambit affected areas. Volunteers helped the children to carry buckets of water from the river for cleaning purposes. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]   Tan Ah Hong (left) got to know Tzu Chi in 2004 when Kuala Lipis was hit by a severe storm. She became an important contact person for the flood relief in Kuala Lipis this time. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

The village chief led volunteers to visit Kerambit affected areas. Volunteers helped the children to carry buckets of water from the river for cleaning purposes. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
 
Tan Ah Hong (left) got to know Tzu Chi in 2004 when Kuala Lipis was hit by a severe storm. She became an important contact person for the flood relief in Kuala Lipis this time. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]