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Victims claim no help a week after Malaysia floods

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A woman walks past items salvaged from her house, which was damaged during the floods in Malaysia, on Monday. AFP

Victims claim no help a week after Malaysia floods

A week after a series of deadly floods swept most of Peninsular Malaysia, some victims claim they have yet to receive aid.

Laksa noodle soup seller Rohkiah Abdul Aziz said she and husband Rashdan Iswandi, as well as their neighbours, were turned away by officers at a relief camp in Selangor state when they went there to get hot meals and some necessities. They were told that the items were only for those living in a specific area.

“They told us to wait for help in our area and wouldn’t budge although there were leftovers and unclaimed food. So we had no choice but to go back [home in Kampung Kubu Gajah],” she said on December 27, the ninth day since they were affected by the floods.

“Not even one government agency or lawmaker has come to help. We now see their true colours.”

Rohkiah said that to be eligible for aid, you had to fill out three forms – one to the district officer, one to the assemblyman’s service centre and one to the Islamic tithe authority.

“All the forms were filled on December 20 . . . but it’s been a week and we haven’t heard from anyone,” she said.

Selangor was one of the worst-hit areas in the country’s heaviest rainfall in the past 100 years.

As of December 27, 48 people have died due to the floods while five were still missing.

In total, 22,573 people have taken to shelter on December 27, down from 35,076 on December 26.

Although there are now fewer evacuees in relief centres across the states of Selangor, Kelantan, Pahang, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, many are bracing for the possibility of a second wave of floods.

A special task force has been set up to improve coordination, including in providing assistance to flood victims and in preparing for more floods.

“I call on the relevant agencies and departments that manage cash assistance to simplify the process and eliminate the bureaucratic red tape. They [flood victims] are already in hardship, do not inconvenience them,” Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters on December 26.

Malaysia is seeking $3 million from the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) to develop a national plan that will help the country adapt to climate change, the environment ministry said last week, amid deadly floods that displaced nearly 70,000 people this month.

The funds requested are small relative to the amount the country has pledged to spend on flood mitigation efforts, although experts say the plan’s implementation would likely cost much more.

Meanwhile, some Malaysians have criticised the prime minister and some ministers for their publicity stunts while visiting affected areas.

A clip of the prime minister digging up some dirt and then passing the spade to a fire department officer after just one shovel went viral on December 27, drawing criticism of the government.

Ismail Sabri had visited the Hulu Langat area on December 26 as part of his “Keluarga Malaysia” communal clean-up programme.

Earlier, women, family and community development minister Rina Harun was criticised for posing with a water jet at a school that is being used as a flood relief centre.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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