GEORGE TOWN: In view of the extreme hot weather, NGOs are giving out drinking water – and bringing medical care – to the homeless here.
Gebok Rezeki, which used to distribute food, is now giving away extra bottles of water while bringing along a doctor to check and treat the homeless in Esplanade, Komtar and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling.
“What the homeless need the most are shelter and drinking water. Staying hydrated at this time is very important,” said the NGO chairman, Kamarudin Shah.
“Besides giving them food and extra drinking water, we also bring medicine like paracetamol, ointment and vitamins to give out to those in need,” he said.
Penang Community Care chairman Wendy Ang said there are several places in George Town that give free shelter to the homeless but the capacity is limited.
She advised them to seek shelter under the tree shades.
Universiti Sains Malaysia family medicine specialist Dr Mastura Mohd Sopian said the public could help by donating things like sunscreen cream, water, food with high water content, fruits and vegetables to the homeless.
She said items like hats, sunglasses, wet tissues and hand-held fans would also come in handy.
“The hot spell can cause sunburn, dehydration and heat-related illnesses. There can also be heat rashes, cramps, exhaustion and heatstroke, which can cause death,” she said.
State welfare committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the first transit centre for the homeless in Penang, which can take in 160 people at any one time, is expected to open on June 16.
The centre is in Magazine Road, near the old Seah Boey market.
“It will be a place where the homeless can shower, rest and relax. During the hot weather, there will be a roof over their heads and they can relax in a clean environment.
“The transit centre will have a television. The building will be taken care of by the state Welfare Department,” he said.