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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 02 January 2015 00:00

Home Visits to Flood Victims in Pahang

Written by  Loo Chia Chia, Bee Yong Chin & Yong Siew Lee, Pahang / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Tzu Chi remained in the affected areas after the disaster, and returned repeatedly to care for the needs of flood victims, besides conducting house-to-house visits to provide comfort. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]

At 6.30 am on January 2, 2015, some 300 Tzu Chi volunteers from nine branches in Central and Southern regions set off for Kuala Lipis, Sg Koyan, Padang Tengku and Kerambit in 71 four-wheel drive vehicles. They carried out home visits that benefitted about 474 families.


 
“All the clothes were soaked with dirty floodwaters!” Noriah bte Akob was helpless looking at the stack of filthy and stinking clothes but continued cleaning them. The three days of incessant heavy rain had washed away her happiness, leaving her upset and depressed.
 
“My child has just got married four days ago, and now, we have to face this serious flood. How can I be happy!” said Noriah. Her husband passed away five months ago and she was full of joy preparing for her son’s wedding held on December 20, 2014. However, this happy occasion had turned hostile overnight.
 
Noriah informed volunteers that the clothes she had on were donated as she did not have a single piece of clean clothing. She was very touched by the caring comfort shown by Tzu Chi volunteers.
 
Clothes, damaged cupboards and trash were all over the spacious house. Everyone was busy with chores, with Noriah tidying up the clothes and clearing the trash, her daughter-in-law and granddaughter washing the clothes, while the son was cleaning the wedding gifts.
 
According to Noriah, the flood last hit the village in 1998, but this time round, it was much worse. This December 24, 2014 flood caused floodwaters to rise as high as 6m. On that day, upon seeing that the rain had increased in intensity, the family began preparing for the flood, by moving the fridge, washing machine, television set and valuables to higher ground. Shortly after, the fast rising floodwaters entered the house.
 
The family had to sleep in the attic for two days before they were forced to evacuate to the relief centre fearing a worsening situation. They only returned home after the water receded.
 
“All these little gifts were to be given to friends and relatives, who attended my wedding but now, they are all spoiled by the floodwaters!” said her son, Nazri bin Md Yusof, as he cleared the mouldy cakes from more than 200 gift boxes. Volunteer Ng Siew Peng then consoled him that fortunately the flood did not occur on his wedding day.
 
Siew Peng opened up the Jing Si Instant Rice and showed Nazri how to cook it. She said, “This instant food product can be prepared with water,” and took the opportunity to share more with him. During the relief work this time, all volunteers had brought with them the instant rice for lunch. As it was about lunch time, Noriah’s family helped boil water for volunteers to prepare their meals.
 
Collaborate with TC Southern region
 
Other than Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, 70 volunteers from Southern region, namely, Melaka, Kota Tinggi, Seremban, Tampin, Muar and Kluang also participated in this nationwide relief effort. At 3 am on January 2, 2015, the aid convoy in nine four-wheel drive vehicles left for KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, where they met volunteers from KL & Selangor Branch.
 
They then departed for the hard-hit disaster areas – Padang Tengku, Sg Koyan and Lipis in Pahang. Volunteers from the Southern region had met in Melaka and endured a seven-hour journey before reaching Padang Tengku, but no one complained about tiredness.
 
Led by local volunteers, all arrived safely at Dr Sugumar’s clinic in Padang Tengku. Dr Sugumar had greatly supported Tzu Chi’s relief efforts for the flood victims this time. He made contacts with four Village Chiefs and reported detailed information of the disaster areas to Tzu Chi volunteers, Yow Lee Mooi and Soo Suat Lee.
 
“To fully understand the need of the flood victims, we got in touch with the Village Chiefs and were led by the villagers into the affected areas for home care,” said volunteers, Lee Mooi and Suat Lee, who then split the 70 volunteers into groups and entered the four villages to conduct home visits.
 
Along the way, they witnessed ruins and destruction, and villagers were seen busily cleaning-up their homes. From the home visits, volunteers found out that floodwaters had badly damaged flooring of some houses; and one house almost collapsed!
 
The most serious ones were those located on low lands by the river bank. During the floods, the villagers could not distinguish between the river and the land. Entering the villages, the thoroughfares were still coated in silt, the trees by the roadside were all covered in mud, and mattresses, furniture, clothes and household appliances of every kind were strewn everywhere.
 
Optimistic about rebuilding homes
 
In Kampung Beralas, volunteers visited the home of Mohd Suhaimi bin Sanuri. Outside the house were piles of debris for disposal and stacks of clothes to be washed; and children were heard crying inside the house.
 
Suhaimi’s wife recognized Tzu Chi volunteers via their blue-and-white uniforms when they dropped by at the relief centre distributing cash relief a few days earlier. She had moved to Kampung Beralas four years ago when her husband relocated to this town. They had never experienced such a large scale disaster and were caught unprepared. With two toddlers around, they were unable to salvage any of their household items and could only watch helplessly as their furniture submerged in floodwaters.
 
After the flood, Suhaimi needed to get back to work so his wife had to deal with the cleaning herself. But she was powerless to do so as her two toddlers fell sick after the flood due to hygienic issues. She felt restless but luckily the helpful neighbours had come forward to assist her in cleaning the house.
 
Nevertheless, there was still a lot of debris to be cleared and dirty clothes to be cleaned.  Initially, they sent their clothes to the laundry services, but at RM50 each time, this was not an option. Thus, they had no more clean clothing. Suhaimi’s wife was in tears when she spoke to volunteers. She was heartbroken when her children were badly affected by the flood and became sick after being fed with milk provided at the relief centre.
 
When it was about 1.30 pm, volunteers asked if she had had her lunch. Upon learning that she and her two children had not eaten since morning, as she had to wait for her husband for transportation, volunteer Tan Poh Seng immediately took out his curry-flavoured Jing Si Instant Rice from the car and passed it to her. Volunteers then explained to her carefully that even though the instant rice was not “halal” certified, it was safe to consume as it was pure vegetarian.
 
When Suhaimi returned home, he also recognized Tzu Chi’s logo and enquired further information about Tzu Chi. He was very impressed with Tzu Chi’s timely relief during the flood this time and its relief efforts around the world.
 
Another flood victim, Abdullah Rahali bin Mohamad welcomed volunteers to his house. He had rushed back from outstation to help clean his house. His wife Satina bte Ibrahim jokingly told volunteers that the onions she bought before the disaster could now be planted after being soaked in floodwaters for days. The wife had chatted with volunteers happily and remained optimistic in the face of adversity. Volunteers shared with her that the donations were gifts of love from the public, besides giving words of encouragement to her whole family.
 
 
“Some cases are very serious. Our trip this time was to assess and determine how we could help further for future arrangements,” said the volunteers. Although the house-to-house visit could not provide more assistance immediately, it had lent a sympathetic ear to the victims’ troubles. The home visits were just the beginning, as the local volunteers planned to provide additional aid to help rebuild their homes.

 

On January 2, 2015, about 300 volunteers from nine branches in Central and Southern regions set off from KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for Kuala Lipis, Sg Koyan and Padang Tengku to carry out home visits. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   The troupe arrived in Raub to meet with local volunteers before leaving for the affected areas in groups. Team leader Lee Ley Hua (left) gave a short briefing to her team. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]

On January 2, 2015, about 300 volunteers from nine branches in Central and Southern regions set off from KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for Kuala Lipis, Sg Koyan and Padang Tengku to carry out home visits. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
The troupe arrived in Raub to meet with local volunteers before leaving for the affected areas in groups. Team leader Lee Ley Hua (left) gave a short briefing to her team. [Photograph by Tee Kim Wooi]
 
Dr Sugumar (left) knew a few TIMA doctors some years ago. After getting in touch with volunteers this time, he learnt more about Tzu Chi and had helped communicate with four Village Chiefs. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Kg Beralas Village Chief (Ismail Ali) and Tzu Chi volunteers gathered at a clinic where the former gave an update on the village situation. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Dr Sugumar (left) knew a few TIMA doctors some years ago. After getting in touch with volunteers this time, he learnt more about Tzu Chi and had helped communicate with four Village Chiefs. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Kg Beralas Village Chief (Ismail Ali) and Tzu Chi volunteers gathered at a clinic where the former gave an update on the village situation. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
During a home visit, Hasina (in red scarf) was impressed with Tzu Chi’s well-organized aid distribution at a relief centre and heart-warming footage. She wished to find out more about recycling. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Rosemadiah bte Sabu felt grateful to Tzu Chi for the timely aid which she had used to buy floor mats and make down-payment for cabinets. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

During a home visit, Hasina (in red scarf) was impressed with Tzu Chi’s well-organized aid distribution at a relief centre and heart-warming footage. She wished to find out more about recycling. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Rosemadiah bte Sabu felt grateful to Tzu Chi for the timely aid which she had used to buy floor mats and make down-payment for cabinets. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Kg Beralas Village Chief (Ismail Ali) led volunteers on home visits to better understand villagers’ situation. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
  Abdullah Rahali’s wife, Satina jokingly told volunteers that the onions bought before the flood could now be planted after being soaked in floodwaters for days. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Kg Beralas Village Chief (Ismail Ali) led volunteers on home visits to better understand villagers’ situation. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Abdullah Rahali’s wife, Satina jokingly told volunteers that the onions bought before the flood could now be planted after being soaked in floodwaters for days. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Volunteers shared with Satina that the cash relief was gift of love from society, and gave words of encouragement to the family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]    

Volunteers shared with Satina that the cash relief was gift of love from society, and gave words of encouragement to the family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]