A national guideline should be drawn up to ensure coordinated aid distribution among non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as a way to reduce wastage.
At the moment, only certain organisations are working together to ensure aid goes to where it is needed.
One organisation that saw and responded to this need for better coordination among NGOs is Match Foundation.
Its executive director Amran Mahzan said the foundation was set up in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it worked with about 23 NGOs.
“We have an online platform called KitaMatch where NGOs update their planned activity so that there will be no overlap.
“For example, during the December 2021 flood in Selangor, the IMARET (IMAM Response & Relief Team) team by Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) that provided humanitarian aid took the lead in terms of healthcare aid.
“Meanwhile, Mercy Malaysia focused its efforts on providing shelter,” he explained.
When coordinated well, he said, there would not be wastage of resources.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, Match Foundation helped to coordinate the vaccination process for some refugees, Orang Asli and the old folks.
“We also coordinated some vaccination activities in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Amran.
He said as a resilient society, the community head should play a role like how it was done in some countries.
“When I was in Pakistan, I saw a community leader checking his log book which had the details of the needs of each household.
“This helps the relief aid to be more targeted and efficient,” he added.
Amran said based on his observation, during smaller disasters such as flash floods, victims needed help in cleaning the house first.
“Sometimes after a flood, there will be a thick layer of mud and the victims need help with the cleaning process.
“I have seen people sending mattresses and rice bags and the victims have nowhere to place them because their houses are dirty,” he noted.
Amran said having a standard guideline would help NGOs.
“Not all floods are the same. The flood in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam in Selangor in December 2021 was different from a flood at a seaside area.
“The key is to map these areas; people should start mapping their own neighbourhoods and be ready for any form of disaster,” he advised.