MALAYSIANS have once again risen to the occasion with various volunteer groups coming together to help flood victims in Johor.
Some have been distributing food to victims and helped them relocate during the critical stage of the floods, while others have been helping out with the clean-up of homes and roads.
Angeline Chong, 40, said some 20 volunteers from the Lions Clubs nationwide made their way to Chaah to cook hot meals for flood victims under the Lions Kitchen initiative.
“We set up a kitchen at a community centre in Chaah on March 2 where we prepared about 1,000 food packs daily.
“We had volunteers from Labis, Segamat, Chaah, Johor Baru, Nilai, Jasin and other parts of the country coming here to help.
“Many of the flood victims, especially those trapped in their homes, were hungry as access to food and drinking water was cut off for a day,” she added.
Johor Crisis Relief Squad of MCA volunteer Tan Sheng Guo, 27, and his team have been busy since March 1 with the relocation of flood victims, food delivery and cleaning up of houses.
“On the first day, our focus was to relocate flood victims.
“Most of those affected in Chaah were senior citizens either living alone or with their grandchildren.
“For me, the most heartbreaking scene was seeing these senior citizens in a difficult situation as many of them had been trapped in floodwaters for hours before we arrived,” he recalled.
Tan said the volunteers also distributed rainwater to houses for cleaning purposes when the area’s water supply was cut off.
“We helped them clean up their mud-filled homes and delivered food to residential areas,” he added.
More than 100 volunteers from the Calvary Community Church and its charity arms – Pusat Kebajikan Kalvary and Transformation Welfare Society – made their way to Chaah to supply food and mattresses as well as help clear up the roads.
Among the volunteers was 20-year-old Elijah Jay.
“It was such an eye-opening experience as I have never been to a place hit by floods before.
“The situation was worse than I expected as there was just so much rubbish piled along the roads in Chaah. I hope our efforts have provided some relief to the people who are going through a difficult time,” he said.
Pastor Sebastian Benjamin said the volunteers had made two trips to Chaah over the last few days.
“The focus of our first trip was to deliver food and drinking water as there was a limited supply in the area at that time.
“All the shops were still closed.
“We also delivered mattresses to provide comfort to the victims who had lost most of the things they owned,” he said.
In Muar, salesman Aereel Abd Azis, 36, travelled back to his grandmother’s house to not only help her clean up the property but also that of other villagers.
“I work in Kuala Lumpur and when I heard about the floods, I returned to Johor immediately with other family members.
“Our village has a tradition of helping each other in times of crisis.
“When it comes to floods, family members of those affected and who are based in different parts of the country will return home to help out.
“Apart from assisting their own families, they also extend a helping hand to others around them.
“That has always been the way for us,” he added.