The tip of the yr was coming shut, and Malaysians had been probably able to have fun the approaching of the brand new yr. Regardless of Omicron, the nation’s COVID-19 disaster gave the impression to be on a gradual mend.
However then heavy rains got here on December 16, 2021, and didn’t stop for a number of days. By the point the tragedy had made the headlines over the weekend, extreme harm was already carried out.
Properties and autos had been wrecked, individuals had been stranded, lacking, discovered deceased (48 our bodies on the time of writing), and now tens of 1000’s of persons are displaced.
It was a grim and bleak scenario, however unaffected communities who had been in a position to assist rapidly started organising fundraisers and volunteer efforts to alleviate the flood’s affect.
Specialised firms like Aerodyne, a drone options supplier in Malaysia, additionally volunteered their tactical drones to assist with search and rescue, figuring out escape routes, clogged waterways, and extra.
Small companies like automobile workshops and cellphone restore outlets started providing free companies to assist these whose autos and units had been broken within the flood.
As we at Vulcan Publish aren’t outfitted to assist with extra superior flood aid efforts just like the above, what we had been in a position to as a substitute supply was manpower.
Thus, my colleagues and I headed to Taman Sri Muda to assist out the founders of S.I Dwelling Shelter, a shelter for rescued cats and canines. Right here’s what we learnt by means of this volunteering effort.
1. You don’t must restrict your self to charities if you wish to volunteer.
Planning a volunteer drive is hard work, so it is smart to achieve out to established charities and be part of their already-organised efforts.
However bigger organisations usually should do extra structured planning since they’re coping with a giant quantity of volunteers. Subsequently, they might not have the ability to adapt to your schedule or requests.
If that’s the case although, don’t surrender on volunteering. As a substitute, you will discover many different locations that want your assist, and you’ll go at your individual comfort.
This lets you assist these whom the charities aren’t in a position to attain but, and you may get to work a lot quicker with out ready for an organisation to go you the small print.
We came upon that S.I Dwelling Shelter wanted assist by means of their social media, as their house (an extension of the shelter the place they maintain another rescued cats and canines) was full of mud and silt that the flood waters introduced in.
We volunteered at this shelter again in 2019, and we felt compelled to increase our assist to them as soon as once more.
2. To assist successfully, get an concept of what their scenario is at the moment like.
A number of vital questions are: Have the flood waters of their space receded? Have they got electrical energy? What concerning the water provide? Do they need assistance with lifting heavy gadgets, procuring requirements, or cleansing up the dried mud and filth?
Everybody’s scenario is barely totally different, so whereas one affected group might have requirements extra, one other might merely want volunteer manpower.
Since we had spoken to S.I Dwelling Shelter, we knew that there was nonetheless no electrical energy of their space. If we wished to make use of any water jets, we’d want a generator.
They do have one however we in a while came upon why they aren’t in a position to all the time depend on it.
3. Come ready with your individual tools, these are the must-have instruments.
Apart from a water jet, different gadgets we introduced included buckets, small and huge squeegees, dustpans, buckets/pails, quite a lot of scrubs, scrubber brooms, rolls of heavy obligation giant plastic trash luggage, and cleaning soap/detergent.
You may get most of those at low costs from Mr DIY or Large.
Coming again to the generator and energy jet, we realised that the water jet wasn’t really very helpful because of the low water strain.
This was the place the trash luggage, dustpans, and squeegees got here in helpful, permitting us to scrape up and get rid of the particles earlier than additional cleanup.
For smaller areas and gadgets, we used quite a lot of long-handled metallic scouring pads, brush scrubs (like for laundry), and sponges.
The long-handled metallic scouring pads had been actually helpful for scrubbing away dried mud in hard-to-reach locations in cages, tables, and extra.
In the meantime, the comb scrubs had been helpful for extra detailed work within the grooves of things like chairs, or for flat surfaces like canine bowls.
Rubber gloves and boots are a should. The floor of the gloves is also efficient at rubbing out mud on sure surfaces.
4. Prioritise what you can assist with.
Upon reaching the home, we took a fast go searching to evaluate the harm. That walkabout was very overwhelming, the primary ground of the home was a shell of what it as soon as was.
Furnishings was stacked in piles on the entrance porch of the home. Each rest room flooring had a thick layer of mud sludge and smelled actually dangerous.
There was quite a bit to do, and it took a second to digest the sight in entrance of us.
The drains in each bathrooms had been really clogged because of the mud and silt. Since we didn’t know find out how to correctly unclog them, we had to decide on our battles.
The entry and exit of the house had been tough with the assorted soiled gadgets there so we helped to wash these up first and transfer them out of the way in which.
For the bathrooms, the very best we might do was manually take away the layer of mud and clear the flooring with out including extra water as a result of there isn’t any working drainage system.
5. Although some gadgets are badly broken, they might nonetheless be precious to the homeowners.
Bear in mind to ask earlier than you throw something out. Simply because it’s soiled, damaged, or in a pile of different “garbage” doesn’t imply it has no extra sentimental worth left for the proprietor.
We made certain to examine with the homeowners what they deliberate to maintain, or the place we might transfer the gadgets to.
Then we positioned the gadgets into a number of luggage and left them in designated spots so that they didn’t get by chance thrown out with the remainder of the garbage.
6. It’s fantastic to not have fancy energy instruments, handbook labour is extremely appreciated.
As talked about earlier, we introduced water jets however weren’t even ready to make use of them in the long run. However our palms and the fundamental instruments we had at our disposal had been greater than sufficient.
Within the span of three+ hours, we nonetheless managed to wash up nearly all of the mud in the home and on gadgets.
On the finish of the day, each small effort and assist counts, even if you happen to had been simply serving to with rinsing or carrying buckets round. No function is insignificant in a situation the place teamwork is required.
We had been a small however mighty crew, we might visibly see the distinction we’d made within the shelter house.
Not solely was it cleaner, nevertheless it was additionally much less cluttered. Now, the homeowners would have the ability to transfer round a bit extra freely and make use of the gadgets which are clear.
Shortly earlier than we left, a brand new group of volunteers got here in. Now they might decide up the place we left off and clear different areas.
Whereas it was visually rewarding to see the bodily affect of our work, of the dried mud being scrubbed and washed away from gadgets and flooring, what felt most rewarding was the group spirit we felt in coming collectively and increasing a serving to hand.
Just about each different volunteer we met at S.I Dwelling Shelter that day was a person who had merely come to assist after seeing the shelter’s social media posts requesting assist.
As we labored collectively, we bought to know one another higher and the rapport we constructed lightened the temper and enhanced our teamwork. Somebody even placed on some cheerful music in a while, which stored us motivated.
To Lu Yee, Nas, Rohana, and the opposite volunteers we cleaned alongside with at S.I Dwelling Shelter, it was a pleasure to work with you to create a optimistic affect on this time of want.
That being mentioned, there’s nonetheless numerous work to be carried out. S.I Dwelling Shelter was just one spot we tackled that day. All through the neighbourhood, we noticed the roads completely affected by giant, broken gadgets that the council hadn’t cleared but.
There have been additionally many smaller piles of garbage throughout. These must be cleaned up ASAP as they might unfold micro organism and ailments.
However Taman Sri Muda isn’t the one affected space both. It’s gotten probably the most media consideration for one of many worst flood-hit areas, however another areas needing pressing assist embody Hulu Langat, Port Klang, Bukit Tinggi, and extra.
Hopefully, this text can encourage you with your individual volunteer efforts as you head out to make an affect (irrespective of how small or giant) on the bottom.
- In the event you can’t bodily volunteer, try our checklist of fundraisers you’ll be able to donate to for flood aid right here as a substitute.