Malaysian Red Crescent Society looks to ‘adopt’ villages following severe floods

Publié: 16 janvier 2015 8:05 CET

By Ika Koeck, IFRC

In the wake of what is considered the worst flooding in Malaysia in over 30 years, the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) has received an overwhelmingly positive response and support from members of the public and over 40 companies in Malaysia. Along with the contributions from the Red Cross Society of China (USD 100,000) and Singapore Red Cross (USD 170,000), the MRCS was able to raise a total of RM 3.2 million in cash so far (approx. USD 900,000). 

To date, MRCS has distributed 120 tonnes of relief items to communities in three states (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang). Following the release of the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has delivered 10,000 blankets for 5,000 families to MRCS. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent  (UAERC) has worked in coordination with MRCS and the UAE Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to distribute food and blankets to another 110,000 individuals in the Pahang state. The MRCS Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) team was also recently deployed to the state of Kelantan to provide clean water. Several medical teams comprising doctors, medical assistants and relief volunteers from branches in Kelantan, Selangor and Johor have been visiting remote villages to provide medical care to the communities.

As of now, the floodwaters have largely subsided, reducing the number of evacuees in evacuation centres to just a few thousand compared to a peak of more than 230,000 in late-December. The floods however have left a trail of damage and destruction, requiring a massive clean-up of the affected areas. The Malaysian Red Crescent Society will continue to work in longer-term recovery when the relief phase comes to a close at the end of January 2015.

In his statement to the press, Tunku Tan Sri Shahriman bin Tunku Sulaiman, National Chairman of the Malaysian Red Crescent says, “Moving onto recovery efforts, MRCS has proposed four community projects called “Village Adoptions”. The aim is to adopt 4 villages in Kelantan, 3 in Terengganu and 2 in Pahang to ease the villagers’ burden and rebuild the livelihoods of affected communities.” MRCS will be working closely with relevant government agencies and other NGOs for the implementation of the project to ensure that there will be no duplication of similar projects and to maximise relief operations for the benefit of the communities.

One of the villages identified for adoption is located in the district of Gua Musang, one of the worst hit areas in Kelantan. MRCS National Disaster Management Chairman Dr. Selva Jothi has been working closely with the Red Crescent assessment teams to determine the village’s immediate humanitarian needs. Floodwaters have damaged the roads linking to the village, making it difficult for them to receive humanitarian aid.

“Two of the most urgent needs for this village at the moment are clean water and medical aid. Skin diseases are prevalent in these conditions, and as the local health clinic has been submerged by water, it is difficult for the villagers to get treatment.”  Dr. Jothi also believes that it is crucial for the villages identified for adoption to be self-supporting after a year. He calls for long-term development programmes that include disaster risk reduction and livelihoods programmes that will create a resilient, safe community that is self-sufficient and prepared for future disasters. 

Since the onset of the flooding, the IFRC’s Asia Pacific Zone office in Kuala Lumpur has been working closely with the Malaysian Red Crescent, providing  technical support during the emergency relief phase of the response as well as facilitating the DREF allocation. Discussions are now underway to see how IFRC  can support MRCS in their recovery plans.