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News : Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time Responding to Perak Flood

Forty six UniKL RCMP volunteers came forward to provide assistance to alleviate the suffering endured by the flood victims by providing donations of basic necessities and medical aid at Perak Tengah, Kuala Kangsar and Hulu Perak relief centres as the three districts were the ones badly hit by the recent floods caused by the unexpectedly heavy rains in December 2014.
 

UniKL RCMP Medical Team responding to Perak Flood
 
The team comprised of members with varying skills ranging from medical officers, trained nurses, student service staff and corporate communication staff; medical and pharmacy students together with two volunteers from the Perak branch of the Malaysian Relief Agency (MRA). 
 
The volunteers were Noorul Hilal Jurij, Nor Azizi Saad, Nafizah Mohamed Nazari, Rohaiza Mohd Mahyudin, Nor Hayati Ahmad Mustafa and Muniroh Ab Rahman from Student Services Department. Faculty of Medicine was represented by Dr. Muhammad Imran Ahmad, Dr. Khairil Azuan Malim Jaafar and Mohamed Foji Mat Salih. Faculty of Pharmacy & Health Sciences was represented by Drs. Zulkernain Hashim, Pek Yah San and Hatijah Shaari while the Corporate Communication Unit was represented by Zahaimi Abdullah Sani.
 
Venturing into the disaster areas without much preparation or information can be quite risky especially when deploying a big number of volunteers. Not only common sense but good rapport with the residents and local authorities in the disaster areas is as important as knowing which roads to take, which places to avoid and more importantly the status of the flood situation. 

Noor Azizi bin Saad who was appointed as the team leader for the relief mission, together with corporate communication staff had arranged a preliminary trip to the 3 districts that were badly hit by the floods and to have discussions with the local authorities. We were briefed by the District Officers in charge at the flood operation rooms at Lenggong, Hulu Perak. We were also informed that 14 evacuation centres had been set up at Hulu Perak accommodating a total of 720 evacuees. Arrangements were made to take us to the centres located approximately 10 km from Lenggong town to meet and further discuss with the Penghulu and the caretakers of the respective centres. 
 
These preliminary visits created a good rapport not only with the local authorities but we managed to get free accommodation at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara, Parit and Maktab Rendah Sains Lenggong for the volunteers. These schools were quite close to the disaster areas. Prior to the discussion with the authorities, arrangement was made to link UniKL RCMP medical team to the respective evacuation centres. 
 
MBBS Students at MRSM Lenggong as base camp

Medical treatment and other activities at the evacuation centres
Throughout the four day medical mission, the UniKL RCMP medical team managed to visit 9 evacuation centres and a total of 195 people received treatment mainly on hypertension due to lack of sleep, stress and not taking their regular medication. They were also treated for skin infections such as rashes and eczema. 
   
Mobile Clinic at Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Senggang
 
The victims were also treated for common fever, running nose, cough, food allergy, giddiness and asthma. The flood victims complained of body aches, knee pain and back pain as a result of staying too long in the evacuation centres without much physical activities. Uncommon cases found at each evacuation centre usually were migraine, gastritis, diabetes mellitus and conjunctivitis which occurred mostly among the elderly.
   
UniKL RCMP Mobile clinic at Teluk Kepayang relief centre
 
The non-medical staff engaged themselves in casual conversations with the elderly. They were very happy to see UniKL RCMP medical team. One of the complaints expressed by a couple of senior citizens was that their grown up children didn't visit them despite knowing they had been housed in the centres for the past 2 weeks. An elderly woman complained that her house was broken into while she was away at the centre.
 

The counselling team led by Drs Zulkernain Hashim conducted activities such as colouring, art therapy and physical activities with the children to keep them occupied.  Stress tests were also conducted among the flood victims at all the 9 centres. Counselling sessions were conducted especially for the elderly who suffered from hypertension so that they would continue with their medication.  
 

Drs Zulkernain Hashim colouring activity Situation at the evacuation centres 
 
 

Situation at the evacuation centres

SMK Sg Ranggam, Mukim Kota Setia – with 276 evacuees was the biggest relief centre and most of them were still there when our team visited the centre. Occasionally the male survivors would go back to their houses to keep an eye on their property that slowly submerged under flood waters as the water level in Sungai Perak continued to rise. As the centre was too crowded and mostly occupied by woman and children, the male evacuees normally would go elsewhere to spend their time and would be back mostly by night. 

     
Just arraived at Mukim Setia relief centre Group photo with Y.B Rusnah Kassim

En Mohd Syukry Taharem, social welfare officer at SMK Sg Ranggam evacuation centre said the relief centre had been operating for three days. Majority of the victims were from the low income families mainly farmers and some odd-job workers.  Some of the evacuees seemed very disturbed and confused when their houses and their properties were submerged in the flood water. It would take quite a while for them to get back on their feet. Some women were traumatised and mentally disturbed by the disaster.  Some of them refused to stay in the relief centre and instead set up temporary camps outside their houses to ensure nobody broke into their homes. En Syukry advised UniKL RCMP students to approach the evacuees in a gentle manner so as not to upset them in any way and offer help in any way possible while providing medical aid.
  
En Mohd Syukry Taharem, JKM officer Y.B Datuk Hj Rusnah Kassim 
 

SK Telok Kepayang, Mukim Bota - 250 flood victims were housed at the centre. UniKL RCMP team was received by En Ali bin Jahaya, Village head of Teluk Kepayang and was offered a place to operate the mobile clinic. Most flood evacuees were at the centre at the time of our arrival. They were attending a ceremony organised by a non-government organization to hand over cash and basic needs. After the ceremony, the evacuees visited the UniKL RCMP mobile clinic for medical treatment. Fifty-five people were treated mainly for common fever, skin infection and hypertension. 
 
UniKL RCMP Mobile clinic at Teluk Kepayang relief centre
 
Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Sadang, Mukim Belanja, Parit - 60 victims occupied the centre but not many were present when we arrived as most of the adults had gone out either for work or were running errands. In fact the road to Kg Sadang was partly closed to the traffic as it was inaccessible. The team was received by En Mohd Suki, the care taker of the relief centre and later was introduced to the people in the centre. Most of them were senior citizens, disabled elderly citizens and children.
 
Since the number of flood victims was small at that time, the volunteers took the opportunity to engage in casual conversations with them. Generally, they were friendly and were quite willing to talk about their losses. The volunteers tried to comfort them as much as they could..
 
SK Kg Luat and SK Kg Beng located at Lenggong had the lowest number of evacuees as some of them had been allowed to return as the floods in certain parts had subsided. We were received by En Yas, Kg Beng Village Head and he was happy to have UniKL RCMP medical volunteers at the centre. 23 people were treated at the centre mainly for hypertension and skin infections.
 
Datuk Shahrul Zaman at Kg Luat relief centre
 
Y.B Datuk Shahrul Zaman bin Datuk Yahaya, Chairman for Youth, Sport, Communication and Multimedia for the Perak State Government, was there to give moral support to UniKL RCMP medical team. He spent an hour at both centres talking to the volunteers and commending them on their noble effort. 
   
Datuk Shahrul Zaman at Kg Beng Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Senggang
 
 
 
Donations
All the 9 evacuation centres received continuous supply of essentials goods from Jabatan Kemajuan Masyarakat and the general public. Among the donations that arrived at the centres while we were there were piles of used clothes, comforters, blankets, basic provisions, canned food, mineral water, hygiene kits, books and toys. Static KKM clinics were stationed 24 hours at all the evacuation centres. Religious activities were conducted at Mukim Setia to keep the flood survivors occupied especially after Asar and Mahgrib prayers.
 
Conclusion
UniKL RCMP volunteers played active roles in providing medical assistance to the flood victims. They were eager to help out and easily adapted themselves to the situation at the relief centres. As some of them had never been to any disaster area before, they found the 4 days humanitarian program a very enlightening experience. This experience has taught them the importance of humanitarian assistance, sensitivity to the needs of victims, patience and empathy.

Generally the UniKL RCMP medical team was well received by the victims at all the relief centres including the volunteers and officials at the centres.  The local authorities and the caretakers at the relief centres appreciated the presence of UniKL RCMP volunteers who provided medical assistance and at the same time helped to reduce the stress endured by the flood victims by having casual conversation with them. The village heads were very supportive and appreciated the presence of the medical team at their kampongs.

 
Noor Azizi bin Saad (fourth from left)   Prof Dr Osman Ali at Kg Senggang, Perak
 
 
Summary of the Report
Project Response to Perak Flood

 

Objectives

 

Providing basic medical aid and humanitarian aid to flood survivors in Perak Tengah, Kuala Kangsar and Hulu Perak 

 

Activities

 

UniKL RCMP mission included:-

  • Outreach clinic providing primary health care
  • Distribute hygiene kits to flood survivors
  • Art therapy and colouring activities for the children at the evacuation centres
  • Survey on stress management

 

Number of volunteers

  •  
  • 15 staff (medical doctors, trained nurses, students services and corporate communication staff)
  • 35 year 1 & 3 Medical Students & 4 Diploma In Pharmacy students

 

Project  partner

 

2 volunteers from the Malaysian Relief Agency (MRA)

 

Head of mission

 

En. Noor Azizi bin Saad (students services department)

 

Local authorities that linked up with RCMP Volunteers

  •  
  • Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM)
  • Head villages (Penghulu)
  • MRSM Parit & Lenggong
  • District Officer at Lenggong

 

VIP visits

 

Y.B Dato' Shahrul Zaman BIN Datuk Yahya joined UniKL RCMP medical team at SK Kg Luat and SK Kg Beng, Lenggong  

 

Location

 

Nine  evacuation centres:-

  • 1. SMK Sg Ranggam, Mukim Kota Setia -17 clients
  • 2. SMK Lambor Kiri, Mukim Lambor – 19 clients
  • 3. Institut Latihan Pertanian Titi Gantung, Mukim Bota- 10
  • 4. SK Telok Kepayang, Mukim Bota – 55 clients
  • 5. Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Sadang, Mukim Blanja – 19 clients
  • 6. SK Tanjung Blanja, Mukim Blanja-10 clients
  • 7. Dewan Orang Ramai Kg. Senggang, Kuala Kangsar – 32 clients
  • 8. SK Kg Luat, Lenggong- 10 clients
  • 9. SK Kg Beng, Lenggong  - 23 clients

    Total 195 clients

 

Duration

  •  
  • 1st January  2015 – Perak Tengah
  • 2nd January 2015  - Perak Tengah
  • 3rd January 2015  -  Kuala Kangsar
  • 4th January  2015 -  Hulu Perak

 

Accomplishments

  •  
  • Providing basic medical care to the flood victims at 9  evacuation centres and a total of 195 peoples were treated mainly for hypertension, skin infection, common fever followed by runny nose and cough, food allergy, giddiness and asthma (toddlers)
  • Common cases found at each evacuation centre usually  were knee pain, back pain, migraine, gastritis, diabetes mellitus and conjunctivitis
  • Distributed 200 goody bags to children
  • Distributed 100 hygiene kits at 5 evacuation centres
  • Talks on hygiene especially to the children
  • Distributing colouring kits/toys/books to children

 

Number of vehicles

 

6 vehicles including bus, van and cars

 

Accommodation for volunteers

  •  
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA, Parit, Perak 
  • Maktab Rendah Sains MARA, Lenggong, Perak 

 

Items donated by UniKL RCMP staff

  •  
  • Cash
  • Hygiene kits
  • Basic provisions
  • Used clothes

 

 
Reported by
Zahaimi Abdullah Sani
UniKL RCMP

Contact Us

For further information please contact

Universiti Kuala Lumpur
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Tel : +603 – 2175 4000
Fax : +603 – 2175 4001
email : enquiries@unikl.edu.my