Updated: Clearing of flood rubbish needs to be fast amid fears of diseases – Volunteer

Updated with changes in graf 4.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 – With the death toll from the recent floods gone up to 47 in the country, and five more people still unaccounted for, there are now concerns of diseases arising from rubbish and debris left behind by flood waters. This is apart from the concerns of Covid-19 spread at relief centres.

According to Be Good Do Good Association (BGDG) President, Victor Ooi, volunteers with BGDG and its partner organisations doing service in flood-affected areas in the country have raised their concerns of potential spread of diseases as the clearing up of rubbish and debris from flood stricken areas continue to be hindered by various factors including insufficient trucks or lorries suited for the purpose.

While efforts are being taken by authorities as well as non governmental organisations and volunteers, some areas are still filled with too much of rubbish and debris and this is worrying, Ooi said, adding that the BGDG has been consulting its members who are doctors to advise on the matter.

Citing Datin Paduka Dr. Shanta Natkunam, he said flood waters often carry with them infectious organisms and this will include leptospirosis and intestinal bacteria causing diarrheal illness.

Tan Chong delivering help in Hulu Langat on the eve of Christmas

“Dr. Shanta also advised us that any relevant medications given to volunteers or flood victims must be properly prescribed by doctors before they are dispensed and we are now waiting to ensure we go through the proper channel to keep safe, whether they are volunteers or flood victims.”

Ooi said Tan Chong, a BGDG advisor and volunteer, who was in Hulu Langat on Christmas eve to deliver clothes, food and drinks to flood victims, said the stench in the place was overpowering and that greater efforts were needed to clear the clogged drains and roads.

There were carcasses of dead animals like cats and rats in some of these places and this could contribute to people getting sick, he said.

Tan Chong, who was in Sg Lui and Taman Sri Nanding, which were among the hardest hit by the floods, said the district authorities were using their trucks to clear the debris but these machineries were just not enough.

He said moving into the areas were also hampered by cars stalled along the roads.

Tengku Hisham has been leading volunteers with assistance of basic necessities to flood victims in the Klang areas with the help of APM and Bomba.

Victor said the group was also taking efforts and hoped to work with local councils to expedite the process of clearing the rubbish and debris.

“Right now we are also working with Dato Ravishankar, who is President of Gabungan Persatuan Zon 2 Cheras and Petubuhan Komuniti Perbandaran Kajang.”

He said they were bringing in more lorries and excavators to help clear the rubbish at Taman Sungai Serai.

On the challenges faced by BGDG and its partner charity organisations, Victor said, all had been working very hard from last Saturday to help flood victims whether it is with the provision of food, clothings or bringing in boats during rescue operations and working with the authorities to identify victims who were trapped during the floods in Klang and Shah Alam.

Some members have been also serving in the East Coast areas including Pahang.