Home’s Christmas plans dashed by landslide

The Christmas tree and all the presents for the children were damaged when the first landslide hit Stepping Stones Living Centre girls’ hostel in Taman Seputeh on Saturday. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Residents of Stepping Stones Living Centre in Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur had hoped to celebrate Christmas in comfort.

But their hopes were dashed when a landslide occurred behind their premises on Saturday.

It caused the retaining wall and monsoon drain to fall onto the property, forcing the inhabitants to evacuate the same night.

The landslide caused by last weekend’s continuous downpour was one of 73 reported in Kuala Lumpur.

“Most of us were out when it happened and thankfully, no one was injured,” said centre founder, Pastor Johnson Aarons Rajasher.

Set up by Johnson some 23 years ago, the centre is home to underprivileged children, single mothers and senior citizens.

The centre has several premises catering for these residents in the same neighbourhood.

The affected home was the girl’s hostel with some 15 children.

“We rushed back on hearing of the landslide. My heart sank to see huge pieces of debris.

“Even our Christmas tree and all the presents we had bought were ruined,” said Johnson.

Johnson says the home can only repair damaged structures once the authorities conduct rectification works.Johnson says the home can only repair damaged structures once the authorities conduct rectification works.

They removed whatever they could salvage but worse was to come.

Heavy rain on Wednesday led to mud flowing down from the exposed hill.

“There was nothing we could do as it was too dangerous to enter. It was truly a crushing sight,” said Johnson, adding that the second incident damaged several electrical appliances, including a washing machine and fridge.

A storeroom and pantry were also flooded.

While the residents have moved to the elderly care facility nearby, Johnson hoped the authorities would expedite slope rectification and repair works.

He said it took him several days to get through to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to report the matter.

“A monsoon drain gave way in the landslide and we do not know if the water is seeping further into the ground,” he added.

It is understood that Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah visited the site on Wednesday with DBKL officers as well as a team from the Malaysian Public Works Institute to assess the damage.

When StarMetro visited the centre yesterday, the children were seen helping to remove more items.

Johnson’s wife Nina said it was heartening to see some of the former residents pitching in to help.

“When the ‘old boys’ heard what had happened, they immediately roped in several of their friends to come over to help,” she said.

Nina said they would have a smaller Christmas dinner at the seniors’ facility.

Despite the challenges, the couple said they did not need immediate help.

“But, once the rectification works are done, we will have to fix the damaged structures,” Johnson said.

Those interested in lending a hand can contact Johnson at 013-380 5871.

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