BY MOHD ZAHID AHMAD ZAKI
BAU: Opar Service Centre has disbursed funds amounting to RM141,000 under the Sarawak Home Improvement Programme for the Poor (PPRMS) to help victims of Kampung Opar to repair their storm-battered homes, with additional allocations to come from Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).
Opar assemblyman Billy Sujang said the total cost of the damages to be covered was RM289,050, which was difficult for Opar Service Centre’s PPRMS to fully bear.
“Therefore, I have personally met with SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to request for assistance to be distributed to the victims,” he told a press conference at Kampung Opar Community Hall on Saturday (Jan 15) after inspecting the homes of victims affected by the monsoon storms.
He said Uggah had agreed and approved an allocation of RM148,050 through SDMC to cover the excess cost of repair works on the homes of the victims involved.
He explained that under PPRMS, there was a maximum expenditure of RM15,000 per household. For households exceeding this amount, the allocation from SDMC will be used to cover the cost incurred.
Billy added that the cost of repairing six houses alone which had suffered extensive damage totalled RM238,000 while the remaining houses only suffered minor damages with less cost incurred.
In addition, compassionate financial assistance totalling RM16,000 was also given to the victims by SDMC, with each affected family to receive RM1,000.
“Besides that, I have also channelled assistance of RM10,000 to the victims on the day of the incident for immediate use.
“Today, I am making a return visit to the scene after 10 days to see the progress of the repairs carried out and to ensure that everything is running smoothly,” he said.
From his inspection, he said the houses which suffered minor damages were mostly repaired except for two which are still undergoing repairs, while the six badly affected houses are still undergoing repairs as well.
He commended the works implemented by the contractor involved but noted that the rainy weather did somewhat hinder the repairs.
On Jan 4, 16 houses in Kampung Opar were affected by a storm. Of these, six were badly impacted whereas 10 suffered minor damages.
When met by reporters, villager Daid Nigopi, 67, said the incident had happened very suddenly and as a result, the affected residents did not have time to save any important documents.
“The incident which happened at around 6.20pm was very shocking and it sounded like a bomb had exploded.
“According to the Public Works Department (JKR), the damage to this house will cost around RM50,000 to RM80,000. I hope the repair works can be completed as soon as possible so that we can move back home,” he said.
Meanwhile, another resident Nojiw Ngenang, 61, said that although their home was impacted by the storm, the burden of the residents had been eased through Billy’s concern in ensuring that various assistance was channelled.
“The repair works done by the contractor have been quite fast. I am thankful for the help given by the relevant parties,” he said.