Soka Gakkai Malaysia Engages in Relief Activities Following Massive Floods
In late December 2006, southwestern Malaysia experienced disastrous flooding, the worst in one hundred years. Not only low-lying regions but many towns and cities were affected, including Kota Tinggi, Kluang, Kulai and Muar. Floodwaters reached one-and-a-half to three meters and most areas were closed to traffic. Ten days after the flooding began, the water level was still around knee-level in some areas.
The Johor branch of Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) responded by setting up emergency relief teams on the first day of the disaster. Since many roads were closed, relief teams communicated with those in affected areas via telephone to assess their situation and to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in relief efforts. After three days, the teams were able to travel to disaster areas to deliver drinking water and relief supplies to some flood victims. On the fourth day, about 80 SGM volunteers transported food, water and supplies to the stricken areas. By December 31, in addition to delivering emergency supplies, the volunteers, now numbering 200, also helped affected families clean and fix homes so they could begin restoring normalcy to their lives. Many of those joining the relief efforts were themselves flood victims, and their knowledge of local conditions enhanced relief activities.
On January 5 and 6, 2007, SGM donated RM 50,000 (approximately US$14,300) to 67 families who were among those most seriously affected. The Johor SGM center also collected relief supplies from the community and distributed them to stricken victims.
On January 12, more torrential rains caused further flooding. The city of Kota Tinggi was among those hit the hardest, with areas submerged in water as deep as 4 meters. Two days later, SGM volunteers in Johor transported potable water and food to flood victims in disaster areas. They also leased three motorboats to locate and assist victims stranded by floodwaters.
From January 14 to 21, SGM set up an emergency relief center in Kota Tinggi to collect funds and food supplies from local SGM members, the Lion's Club, local merchants and concerned individuals. Volunteers at the center also prepared meals, feeding 1,000 flood victims every day.
On January 30, SGM held a special cultural performance by the Tianjin Cathay Future Children's Art Group at its Johor center to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They transformed it into a charity event, raising RM 33,000 for flood victims.
[Based on a report from Soka Gakkai Malaysia]