Fourteen volunteers from UniKL RCMP were deployed at short notice at the request of Universiti Kuala Lumpur President as the 1st wave of Humanitarian Aid Mission in response to the severe floods in Kuantan, Pahang.
The volunteers included Associate Professor Dr Abdul Karim Russ Hassan (Team leader), Noorul Hilal Jurjij, Dasuki Wahab, Zahaimi bte Abdullah Sani, Mohamed Nazlee bin Mohamed Yusoff, Hong Kin Week, Hamidah bte Mian, Noorazzemi bte Mohd Isa, Nornatasafaziana bte Mohd Zukfily, Faisal bin Ahmad Katran, Siti Norzehan bte Nawi, Azlina Hani bte Osman and Nur Emi Shuhada bte Sobri.
The team comprised of members with varying skills, ranging from medical officer, trained nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
1st Day (Wednesday, 11th December 2013)
8 am- The team embarked on their journey on two four- wheel vehicles and a van after a short briefing by En Hisshamuddin Omar, UniKL RCMP Chief Executive Officer.
4 pm- Prof Dr Abdul Karim bin Russ, Zahaimi Abdullah bte Sani and Nur Emi Shuhada bte Sobri reached Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Pahang (JKN) and were greeted by Dr Mohamed Suffian bin Mohamed, Principal Assistant Director and Head of Communicable Disease Control (Kawalan Penyakit Berjangkit). Apparently Dr Mohamed Suffian had been informed of our coming and had made the preliminary arrangements to assist the UniKL RCMP medical team.
The rest of the team members proceeded to MRSM, Kuantan
We were then taken to the Hazard Operation Room and briefed on the flood status in Kuantan, Pahang. We were also informed that out of 62 relief centers, only 5 centers were still occupied by the flood victims. The relief centers were:
i. Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat (424 evacuees),
ii. SK Ubai (204 evacuees),
iii. SK Isap Murni (103 evacuees),
iv. Dewan Orang Ramai Ceruk Paloh (87 evacuees) and
v. Balai raya Kg Ubai (20 evacuees).
Dr Mohamed Suffian later suggested that the team meet Dr Ahmad Zulfadli, Pegawai Kesihatan Pekerjaan dan Alam Sekitar from the District Health Office. He will do the arrangement to deploy UniKL RCMP medical team to designated relief centers. Prior to the discussion arrangement were made to link the UniKL RCMP team to the District Health Office.
6 pm – The team reached the District Health Office and after a short discussion, we were allowed to access these centres:- Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat, SK Ubai and Dewan Orang Ramai Ceruk Paloh.
The UniKL RCMP mobile medical team was allowed to
1. Examine the evacuees health conditions
2. Distribute donation items
3. Engage in short conversation with the flood victims
4. Be sensitive to their situation
5. Give physiotherapy treatment to the elderly and disabled
6. Show sincere sympathy to the victims.
7.30 pm - We reached Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) to have our dinner and later updated Prof Dr Mazliham and the rest of the team members on the situation at Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Pahang (Pahang State Health Department). All UniKL volunteers were based at MRSM Kuantan.
2nd Day, Thursday 12th December 2013
i. Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat Relief Centre
8 am- UniKL RCMP mobile medical team spent half the day at Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat. According to Dr Suffian, Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat had the highest number of flood evacuees but the number of the evacuees taking shelter at the relief center slowly declined day by day. Some of the flood victims have been allowed to return to their homes as water in certain parts had subsided.
UniKL RCMP Medical Mobile Mission team provided healthcare services and treatment for skin infections such as fungus, rashes, eczema and scabies. This infection occurred as they had been occupying the relief centers for almost two weeks. Besides, counseling was also given to patients with hypertension and cataract. At least 26 patients benefited from the medical treatment. However there wasn't any treatment for minors (babies) at the relief centre.
The relief center that housed 424 flood evacuees received continuous donations from the generous public. Among the donations that arrived at the center were rice, sugar, diapers, canned food and an abundance of used clothes.
The non medical team engaged themselves in short conversations with the flood victims especially the elderly. Most of them were polite, humble and appreciated the presence of UniKL RCMP volunteers at the relief centre. However judging from their body language and facial expression we could easily tell that they felt uncomfortable with too many outsiders and reporters lingering around the centre.
1.00 pm- The relief centre was stuffy, congested and had only one washroom to accommodate the large number of evacuees. UniKL RCMP volunteers left Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat to SK Kg Ubai relief centre.
ii. SK Ubai Relief Centre
1.30 pm-, UniKL RCMP team reached SK Ubai (Pekan) relief centre located 7 km from Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat that housed 204 flood evacuees. The team treated 10 flood victims mainly for skin diseases and body ache. The flood victims' complained of body aches as a result of staying too long in the relief centre without much physical activities. Bed treatment was also given by physiotherapy staff to victims who were suffering from paralysis.
SK Ubai relief centre was more organized, clean and spacious compared to Dewan Orang Ramai Kg Semangat. The evacuees had been in the centre for twelve days and the water level in their kampung had shown no sign of subsiding.
We were informed by the evacuees that the medical officer from the State Health Department had came twice on that morning. In fact a team of medical officers were stationed in SK Ubai to provide 24 hour treatment. However physiotheraphy treatment was needed at any relief center to treat disabled patients.
6 pm- The team left SK Ubai relief centre and reached MRSM at 7pm.
3rd Day, Friday 13th December 2013
8 am- UniKL RCMP medical team attended a morning briefing given by Dr Amirullah Mohd Arshad, the Public Health Expert and the Kuantan District Health Office. Dr Amirullah had expected to see more medical students and doctors. He expressed his concern the limited number of medical doctors and paramedics could not sufficiently cater to the needs of the many patients who were waiting for such help. He suggested that in future UniKL RCMP send more medical doctors and students to disaster areas to gain some real life experience on relief work during and post-flood. The students need to learn how to give moral support and assist the victims mentally and spiritually. He later assigned UniKL RCMP medical team to the Cerok Paloh relief centre.
9.30 am –Kampong Cerok Paloh was the worst affected area. No vehicles except military truck could reach the village as Kg Cerok Paloh was inaccessible by road. UniKL RCMP medical team was given a ride by the Bentong Army Unit on their military truck. Along the 7 km journey we witnessed a few houses along the road were submerged under about a metre of flood water.
We reached Kampung Cerok Paloh relief centre an hour later with a supply of medicine and donation items. According to Puan Syarifah Aini binti Syed Anuar Pashah, UMNO Women Division Head of Kg Ceruk Paloh, there were 96 evacuees housed at the relief centre. She complained that donations were not well distributed by the authority to Kg Cerok Paloh relief centre resulting in the evacuees having to rely mainly on canned food for almost 12 days. She thanked the UniKL RCMP medical team for being supportive and concerned about their welfare.
At 12.30 pm - UniKL RCMP medical team left Kampung Cerok Paloh relief centre
The volunteers reached UniKL RCMP almost midnight
UniKL RCMP volunteers had shown full determination and utmost contribution to support the humanitarian mission at Kuantan, Pahang. Since few of them have never been to any disaster area before, they found the three-day mission a very enriching experience. They are willing to be deployed at any disaster destination in the future. Overall, UniKL RCMP has created a good rapport with the Kuantan Health Department and left a good and lasting impression. Reported By
Zahaimi Abdullah Sani