Homeless folk fear the rain more than the sun

Group preference: The homeless in Ipoh are actually happier on sunny days. — RONNIE CHIN/The StarGroup preference: The homeless in Ipoh are actually happier on sunny days. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

IPOH: It’s already tough being homeless, but when the sun beats down on you in this scorching hot weather, things can get really unbearable.

Welfare groups helping the homeless are now keeping an eye on them and making sure that they stay hydrated at a time when heatstroke and other heat-related problems can threaten lives.

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The groups are providing the homeless with bottled water and trying to find them shelter but many of the vagrants are happy with the sunny days.

It’s the rain that they hate.

According to a few non-governmental groups in Ipoh, those living on the street prefer the heat.

Dapur Jalanan Ipoh (DJI) co-founder Zeti Suhaila Mustafa Kamal said some homeless folk find rainy days to be tedious.

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“They only carry a small bag and most of them sleep on cardboards. So, they prefer the hot weather because their belongings stay dry and are not ruined by water.

“While distributing food to them, we check on their well-being. In this hot weather, their only bother is mosquitoes. But they do sleep comfortably, compared to rainy days,” she said.

Zeti said the homeless folk beat the heat by sleeping under the bridge.

“Recently, we found three siblings sleeping under a bridge in town. According to the eldest brother, 20, they had previously slept in the forest after being thrown out by their parents who were drug addicts.

“They have five younger siblings who are now under the Welfare Department and we are trying to help them out, too.”

Although the homeless prefer the hot weather, Zeti is worried about the possibility of heatstroke.

“Some of them, especially the elderly, told us that they have been selling cardboard to buy water.

“We hope they stay hydrated,” she said, adding that DJI would distribute more water bottles to the homeless.

Meanwhile, Pay It Forward Ipoh co-founder Susan Ho said the hot weather made things easier for the homeless to manage their belongings.

“Some of them are old and frail. During rainy days, there could be strong winds and they get wet and cold. Most do not have blankets and would cover themselves with cardboard.

“They are scattered all over the city but many stay near the market as they can pick more items from the trash.

“Because they have more items, they prefer the hot weather. At least their things won’t get wet,” she said.

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