Red Crescent helps villagers prepare for the next flood

Published: 29 December 2015 6:52 CET

By Ika Koeck, IFRC

In an effort to boost the preparedness of communities living in the flood-prone areas of Kelantan and Terengganu State, the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), recently held a boat handover ceremony for the National Society’s Kelantan branch and its five adopted villages.  

Five boats, equipped with life vests and first aid kits, were handed over to villages in Kuala Krai and Terengganu. Another boat, fitted with a high-powered engine, was given to the Red Crescent’s Kelantan branch to be used in future flood situations.  

In his speech during the ceremony, Yang Mulia Dato’ Raja Nazrin Raja Aznam, representative of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society Headquarters, said that for the past year, the National Society has been engaging in post-flood recovery projects. “With support from the IFRC, the Red Crescent has built 44 temporary houses in Kuala Krai, set up 44 latrines, and provided cash grants to 74 households,” he added. “We are now working hard to increase the capacity of communities and volunteers in search and rescue, water and sanitation and shelter.”

Kuala Krai was one of the worst hit villages in the Kelantan State during the December 2014 floods. In some areas, the water rose to over 30 metres, displacing 230,000 people in Kelantan and other states in the East Coast of Malaysia.

The IFRC also recently facilitated the country’s first Basic Shelter Training for participants from the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and other non-governmental organizations, including Mercy Malaysia, United Nations, Crest Malaysia and MESRA Kelantan. The four-day training involved theoretical and practical lessons on shelter building, with methods that will provide beneficiaries with temporary homes in the most efficient and quick manner.

IFRC Shelter Delegate Leeanne Marshall explained that the training would give participants from other organizations a better understanding and awareness on shelter response. “It’s great to share the IFRC’s best practices with different organizations,” she said. “This training will ensure that other humanitarian actors have contingency measures in place so that they will be prepared when it comes to future disasters.” She added that the training would also help participants understand that it takes more than having a roof over their beneficiaries’ heads to meet their needs. “The volunteers and participants have to take into consideration about other needs, like the location the shelter is being built and water sources, to name a few.”

Cheong Chee Keen, from CREST Malaysia, echoed Leeanne’s sentiments. “I’m glad that the IFRC and Malaysian Red Crescent organized this training,” he said. “It will give us the opportunity to see how we can improve our own processes when it comes to building temporary shelters.”