I visited Kelantan with my parents following the first wave of floods that hit the state. As of my visit on December 21, 2014, a total of 20,000 people have been displaced. I went as part of a flood relief cum donation drive. We were equipped with water, bread and chicken to be distributed to over 10 relief centres in two days in Rantau Panjang, Pasir Mas and Tumpat.
In the two days I spent there, I mounted rescue boats and military trucks to access the affected areas. In those two days, I witnessed situations that I thought were only possible through my TV screen, in the comfort of my home, not realising I would find myself in the very midst of it someday.
I saw the sea and river spread over the land – the only things reminding me it was land, were the lamp posts and signboards, that too barely visible now. I saw mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers break down and cry as we recited prayers, simply because asking for hope was the only thing we could hold on to as conditions worsened. I saw a group of people stuck atop a shop lot, surviving only on biscuits and water, begging on their knees for help.
But most unexpectedly, I saw the rescuers – the policemen, RELA personnel, firemen as well as military officers help without complaining. Their weather beaten physical state said enough of the condition they were put in. Blue lips, exhausted faces told more of a story than the words they spoke. “It’s what we’re trained to do” they said. These rescuers risked their lives to save those in the wee hours of the morning. They braced extreme weather conditions, and the darkness of the night, surviving on nothing more than Jacobs dried biscuits and water, if any was still available. They didn’t rest. The volunteers and medical assistants worked around the clock. And with barely any sleep. I was deeply moved by their motivation and determination.
An urgent appeal for help
This surpasses politics. This surpasses religion. This is an appeal to mankind to come together to alleviate the pains of our own people, our fellow Malaysians. This is a test for us, as we witness whole regions being swallowed, almost to the point of complete submergence. What were once parcels of land and homes, have now become part of the sea and rivers. In just one week, Malaysians were living well above the poverty line. However their sources of income for the next few months are gone. Now, they live without electricity, food and clean water.
As we watch the forces of nature slowly but surely take hold, we remember that we too are forces of nature capable of curing not all, but some wounds.
Just a decade ago, we awoke to news that shook the world – the 2004 tsunami.
As of now, our hands are tied. We cannot save the victims, but hope that Allah lessens the burdens and listens to our cries. We have the ability to give them hope. As they say, charity starts at home. And there exists no better home that the one we share with others in our nation and no better charity than to assist our countrymen who are now in need.
I plead for donations, no matter how big or small. A little goes a long way. I have been lucky enough to have friends from all walks of life who have been willing to contribute, and I am forever thankful of their kind gestures.
However I plead that every Malaysian try to assist in any way to alleviate the pains of the December Flood of 2014 in various states. Donations of any kind are welcome – clothes, shoes, food, school supplies, electrical items, as well as the simple appreciation for the efforts of the rescuers.
Most importantly, I plead for you to share this, my experience, for there is nothing better than awareness. As said, a little goes a long way.
A decade ago, we were shaken by a disaster that left all of us shattered and speechless. It haunts us to this day. Today, history has almost repeated itself.
Whatever the contribution, how little or how small, will help alleviate the pain and suffering of the victims, the rescuers as well as the volunteers.
I plead for you to unite and help as Malaysians.