BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The fire victims from yesterday’s early morning incident which gutted at least 12 houses at Kg Saba Darat “A’ in Kampung Ayer have sought refuge under the government’s care and leading welfare agency, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has facilitated for, among others, temporary housing at the Youth Centre in the capital, Borneo Bulletin reported.
On the sidelines of presenting donations to the displaced families, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah, shared with the Bulletin that those affected have been assured that the government will provide them with basic needs and that their welfare will be taken care of.
“We are making sure that the victims have a place to stay temporarily and provide them with food and other necessities, as their their houses were destroyed in the fire,” he said.
According to a press release by the Department of Community and Development ( JAPEM), some 52 individuals, including five families, have registered to temporarily reside at the Youth Centre and it was further explained that many of the victims have chosen to stay at the facility mostly due to convenience as opposed to residing with relatives.
Some, meanwhile, were also offered to reside at the MCYS housing in Kampong Belimbing. However, due to transportation problems, especially considering that some of the children are currently studying at Kg Saba Darat Primary School, the victims had suggested the ministry to open the Youth Centre for their temporary use, which the ministry willingly obliged.
“The ministry through the Department of Youth and Sports will try its best to make the victims feel comfortable whilst they are here,” added the minister. Meanwhile, the minister also toured the facilities particularly the youths’ hostel and the surau, as Well as taking a closer look at the contributions.
In a separate interview, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman, shared further details of the victims’ accommodation, stating that though the temporary shelter is adequate for the time being, it is not ideal especially for families with children as the quarters have been segregated between men and women, and also the fact that space is limited with just eight rooms with four beds each.
“We do have a place for them to stay and it would be better if they were to opt for the Belimbing area,” she said.
In the next few days, the deployment of a number of other agencies is expected, both government and non-government including Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, whose personnel will initiate the rebuilding of the destroyed homes and affected lives either in the form of finances or other goods.
As an immediate response from the public, many volunteers were seen channeling their time and effort, during the public holiday, to alleviate the worries of those affected and among them included those from the Council on Social Welfare, CARE Association, Katakijau, the National Youth Volunteers (SBK), the Chinese Chamber of Commerce BSB and various youths from the general public.
Several donations were distributed in the form of basic amenities ranging from toothpaste, schoolbags containing books and stationery, mini towels, clothings and others. In addition to that, JAPEM has also provided food rations as well as other basic necessities.
The outpouring of community care was also given special mention by both the minister and deputy minister, who were proud and amazed to see the attention given by the public to those who are most in need.
“This is encouraging to see among our people as it raises awareness in serving the community when needed,” said the minister.
A Message circulated through various platforms including Whatsapp and Facebook, meanwhile, also gathered pace following the fire and though there were some discrepancies in the facts, the underlying message was one of encouragement for the community to direct their contribution for the victims at the Youth Centre.