Apr 15, 2007

Report on Segamat Flood Distribution

The following was a report given to Crest (Crisis Relief Services & Training Bhd) as requested:

Report on Segamat Flood Distribution from January 19, 2007 to January 21, 2007

Segamat was inundated with the worst flood that has ever hit the town as far as the folks can remember. On 19th December 2006, Segamat received one of the highest recorded rainfall volume per day and this went on for almost a week of continuous 24 hours raining.

Many people were stranded, stuck on the roads, stranded in flooded waters, and unable to get help. The flood hit the town centre and many housing schemes. The electricity to most parts was out for many days. The tap waters ran dry. Many organizations came in and help in one way or the other. The individual churches besides the Buddhist association, Red Crescent, Lions, Rotary, MCA, Police, Army, and individuals all rallied together to bring out the victims from the flooded zones and provided them immediate basic food and water. This work was partly hampered by the inaccessibility of all the incoming roads and rail into Segamat. Only helicopters were able to reach in.

When the waters subsided gradually, we as a church, decided to assist in providing relief to the church members that were affected and also the largely Chinese community who dwelled in the flooded housing schemes.

For the church members and their families, we managed to raise more than RM15,000 as immediate relief to be shared among them.

For the non-Christians, we sounded out the need for food distribution for 3000 affected homes located in housing schemes, where the water levels range from 3 to 5 feet inside their houses.

In order to ensure orderliness, fairness and accountability, we decided to try the coupon system of distribution with the physical materials to be collected from the church premise – for the purpose of Christian identity.

This method in principle was shared among the church oversight and a church meeting was called for all those interested in this project. The following steps were taken:

1. Flooded zones were identified and a total of 18 housing schemes affected were targeted.

2. Hand drawn maps were sketched for the schemes, roads names, with houses affected numbered on it. We were told that actually there were more than 8000 houses affected around Segamat but we were unsure whether we were able to handle such a massive job, since this is our first time organizing such a relief work. With 3000 homes in mind, we marked down the types of houses because we wanted to assist the low cost houses, single storey houses, terrace houses and individual village houses first and not the bungalows or semi-detached houses.

3. Coupons with security marks were printed for 3 days of distribution. Partners in the food supply, such as Crest, FGA KL, NECF were informed and delivery of goods was logistically arranged. Some of the goods were sourced locally due to transportation and storage problems.

4. Church members were mobilized two-by-two to walk house to house, the 18 schemes, and to give to houses with residents. Some coupons and goods were given to other churches to distribute to their area.

5. After coordinating with the Police and Rela officers, we just waited for the recipients to come to church to collect their items. The items given out were 1 bag of 10kg rice, 2 bags of 2 kg Milo, 1 single mattress, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, detergent, and pillows.

Everything went very smoothly. We thank God for the many other churches and organizations that came and help us in the packing of the items, unloading of the goods, arrangement of the distribution centre, carrying the goods into the recipients’ vehicles or houses, directing traffic, sharing the Good News with the public, and just being a part of this relief work. Many came and helped at very short notice. Many contributed in labour and sweat, and left without waiting for thank you compliments. Some came from the north like Alor Setar and some from the south, JB. These are true heroes of the faith.

Overall, the community was very appreciative of what the Christians did for the town. They gave better reports for the church as compared to the other organizations that did similar relief. Several Chinese newspapers featured and wrote well about our distribution.

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