KUCHING: A team from Hope Place Kuching’s ‘Charity Without Borders (CWB)’ recently visited Penan villages that were flooded.
The CWB is an annual project to help needy villages in the interior areas.
The non-governmental charity organisation said its team together with members of Bintulu 4×4 Club Batu Niah made a three-day two-night trip to survey the situations in and around the villages.
Today (Oct 26), the organisation related how the team found that three longhouses, namely, Long Anyat, Long Daloh Bestari and Long Luteng needed urgent help.
There are a total of 162 doors in the longhouses that were badly damaged by huge floods that occurred last June and July.
Although a few months have passed since the floods, the longhouses are still covered with mud. When the team arrived in Long Daloh Bestari, they found that half of the longhouse was still buried in mud and dirt as it is a single story structure.
The team quickly noticed that the villages already have solar lights provided by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), but their only source of useable water is a nearby river which gets murky whenever it rains hard.
Also, all of their belongings were damaged by the floods while their stored food items were completely destroyed. In order to survive, they have been hunting or foraging for edible plants and fruits in the surrounding jungle.
Less than 70 percent of the villagers use face masks. According to a village head, the villagers could not afford to repair their homes after the flood, let alone buy face masks or hand sanitizers.
Thus, to complement the efforts of the government whose resources are stretched thin, Hope Place appeals to the public to sponsor or donate useful items for distribution to the flood victims.
The items that are very much needed are 10kg rice bags, 2kg bottle cooking oil, biscuits, salt, sugar, dry noodles, Milo malt drink, adult face masks, children’s face masks, hand sanitisers, and school stationery sets for school children.
“As Sarawak is still in Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), the team is waiting for Phase Four so that the CWB expedition convoy could help by going again to Long Bedian in December.
For those willing and have suitably modified 4×4 vehicles to be part of the convoy, they are encouraged to contact the Bintulu 4×4 Club (019-8243876).
Hope Place said during the last trip, its team wanted to go to a village primary school called SK Long Luteng but could not do so because a bridge leading to it was damaged and the weather did not permit.
The team hopes to make another attempt this December to reach the school which has about 300 pupils comprising mostly Penan children. The rest of the kids are Iban, Kenyah and Kayan.