Rohani: More volunteers, lay-counsellors needed

Rohani (second right) meeting an elderly evacuee at Serian Community Hall while visiting flood victims in Serian.

SERIAN: The Minister of Women, Welfare and Family Development Dato Sri Rohani Abdul Karim has called for more volunteers and people from non- governmental organisations in Sarawak to come forward to be lay-counsellors during times of disaster.

She said they will be trained in para-counselling to help victims in facing emotional trauma during disasters and also to assist the front liners.

“We have trained and qualified full time counsellors from the ministry but the number is not enough so we need lay-counsellors trained in para-counselling to help and to assist people traumatised by a disaster like flood that had inundated their properties and homes,” she said.

“From my observation, all the victims especially the elder ones at the flood evacuation centres look sad, worried and their mind is somewhere else,” she added.

Rohani said she was very concerned when seeing flood victims face such situation.

“These people definitely have emotional trauma that needs to be addressed and this is where the counsellors could intervene.

“I spoke to one old evacuee and he told me he was worried about his chickens left behind at the barn.

“I told him not to worry as these birds can go to higher ground and stay on tall trees,” she related.

She was met by reporters at the flood evacuation centre in Serian Community Hall yesterday.

“Our lay-counsellors can talk to them and divert their attention to some other topics so that they do not think too much of their properties that have been destroyed,” she further said.

Rohani, who is the MP for Batang Lupar, earlier visited a few evacuation centres in Kota Samarahan before going to Serian.

While at the evacuation centre in Serian, she gave away goodies to young evacuees and spoke to the older ones and later proceeded to a briefing by the evacuation centre management team.

In Serian, 469 people from 155 families are taking shelter at the evacuation centre in Serian Community Hall since Feb 5.

She said she was very happy with the way all the evacuation centres were managed and thanked all the volunteers and uniformed bodies and authorities for their assistance.

In Serian, she was accompanied by Bukit Semuja assemblyman John Ilus and officers from her ministry and the Serian Resident’s Office.

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