KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – For 23-year-old Anthony Hoang Van Thoan, seeing houses ravaged by floods and people evacuating to shelters is not an unfamiliar experience.
In fact, this Vietnamese worker told Bernama, he knew exactly how it felt as his hometown in the Lai Chau province in the Northwest region of Vietnam had been hit by floods year in, year out.
For that, Hoang said when he read the report that most states in Malaysia were hit by floods, he registered himself to participate in the East Coast Malaysia Flood Relief Programme organised by the Archidiocesan Office for Human Development (AOHD) without a moment of hesitation.
He said although he could not afford to give cash and materials, at least he could help the flood victims by giving his time and energy.
Along with 80 other volunteers, Hoang said their duties were to help manage and pack relief supplies donated by the public to be sent to the victims.
“Although I could not go to the flood-hit areas and just helping by loading the relief supplies into lorries and packing all the food supplies donated by the public, I’m still happy and satisfied.
“I sympathise with the people in the flood-hit areas. I know how it feels. At one time, my family and I had to endure hunger and thirst because we ran out of food supply during floods…I don’t want to see them having to go through that ordeal again,” he said when met at the AOHD Flood Relief Collection Centre in Jalan Gereja yesterday.
Another foreign volunteer, Joseph Cha Ru, 27, from Myanmar, said the flood victims in Malaysia could be likened to refugees right now as they had to evacuate to shelters after their homes were destroyed by floods.
“I understand their situation…floods left them homeless. That’s why I joined the programme to help alleviate their burden,” he said.
Meanwhile, programme coordinator Josephine Tey said they had received various donations from the public, especially food and daily essentials, since the programme was launched on Dec 26.
She said the donations would be sorted out and packed by the volunteers at the collection centre before being sent to St Thomas Church in Kuantan to be distributed to victims in Kelantan and Terenganu.
Tey said the aid would be sent in three phases.
“The first phase, that is for deployment of medications, was carried out on Dec 29 and we are now in the second phase, which is the deployment of food supply, clean water and daily essentials.
“Next week, we will carry out the third phase, which is to deploy over 100 AOHD volunteers each state to help clean the flood-affected areas.
“Donation of food and basic necessities are still welcome at the AOHD Centre,” she said.