BELAGA: Victims of Monday’s fire at Uma Bawang, Belaga received aid and other forms of assistance from Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the blaze which engulfed 42 units or ‘bileks’ in two longhouse blocks and a community church.
According to a press release by Sarawak Energy, about 499 residents were affected when their homes were destroyed in the fire at around 6pm.
This prompted Sarawak Energy to instantly mobilise assistance in the form of food and clothing for the victims, who are currently putting up at neighbouring blocks of the longhouse and the nearby kindergarten.
Uma Bawang, comprising five longhouse blocks with 112 units, is situated about 50 km from Bakun Hydroelectric Powerplant (HEP). The longhouse was one of 15 that moved to the Bakun Resettlement Area for the hydropower project 20 years ago.
In commenting on the tragedy, Sarawak Energy general manager (Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability) Jiwari Abdullah said Sarawak Energy also contributed RM21,000 to the victims to assist in their welfare and RM5,000 each for the community church and the Sungai Asap Fire Fighter Volunteers Association.
Sarawak Energy was among the first to deliver immediate relief aid such as food, clothing and toiletries for the victims with more assistance delivered the following day after the fire.
“We will also continue to work with and assess the longer term needs of our neighbouring communities in mitigating this ever-present longhouse fire risk. We will work together with the Welfare Department, Belaga District Office, community leaders and the Sungai Asap Fire Fighters Volunteers Association in this,” he added.
Sarawak Energy sponsored a fully equipped fire-fighting vehicle in November 2018 to replace the older vehicle for the Sungai Asap Fire Fighter Volunteers Association.
The team was at the scene to help fight the blaze before the official Fire Brigade arrived from Bintulu.
Since the acquisition of Bakun HEP, Sarawak Energy has worked closely with the Sungai Asap Fire Fighter Volunteers Association on fire safety awareness and prevention programmes for the longhouses in the Bakun Resettlement Area.
The corporation also assists in training programmes for the association members and has contributed fire extinguishers and fire fighting equipment to the communities.