Monday January 29, 2007
By JAMIE KHOO
ENTIRE orang asli villages in Endau-Rompin in Johor were submerged in flood waters recently but fortunately, a group of volunteers from Kuala Lumpur went to their rescue.
Having forged friendships with the orang asli of Kampung Peta, film producer and director Michael Chick took the initiative to gather supplies from friends and associates, and organised a trip into the thick jungle to take emergency supplies to several villages.
He led the team of 13 to Endau-Rompin in the first week of January, using four 4WDs and one lorry to transport over five tonnes of rice and food supplies, cooking utensils, clothes and shoes. They even took live chickens and organised a large cookout for the villagers who relished their first hearty meal in weeks.
Desperate measures: The team was forced to transport supplies by Kampung Penan by boat when they discovered that the bridge had collapsed.Contributions were also donated by organisations such as Kechara House Buddhist Association, Kiwanis, Lions Kluang, Transmarco Crocs and the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Videographer’s Association. These went towards funding the transport and volunteers’ food and shelter.
Chick befriended the orang asli community about six months ago while filming the Endau-Rompin jungles for the Discover Malaysia documentary.
He soon became fast friends with the orang asli and has been back to the village five times, taking with him clothing and shoes for the children. Close friends and colleagues supported his initiative by donating in kind or buying the supplies.
When the floods hit Johor, Chick learnt that Kampung Peta was submerged, which prompted him to secure necessities and arrange for a trip to transport supplies to the villages. The journey to the remote site takes some six hours, so Chick had problems getting volunteers.
“As there is no telecommunication there, people didn’t know that the villagers had been hit by floods and needed help. Many people didn’t want to go because they were afraid of the jungle and the orang asli. Up until the day before we left, we didn’t know how many volunteers would be coming,” said Chick.
When the team got there, they found that the only bridge to another village, Kampung Punan, had collapsed. They were totally cut off. Supplies had to be transported using boats instead. One of Chick’s friends, Paulyne Leong, is organising another trip into the villages with medical professionals to administer medical care.
Again, many volunteered for the mission but backed out upon discovering that they would be going into the jungle. The area was hit by a second wave of floods just after the team left Endau-Rompin. Roads are still impassable, so the medical team will only go in when the waters have subsided.
Helping hand: The volunteers provided families in Kampung Peta and Kampung Punan with basic necessities like food and clothing.Chick said the emergency rations which the group took were just enough for the 120 families in two villages. There are another 13 villages in need of help.
“I hope other individuals and teams will go in to provide relief for these communities, instead of only going into the towns.”
Chick advised that donations in kind would be most useful and appropriate. “Cash is more troublesome for them as they will then have to come out to buy supplies and they end up spending more money on petrol for their motorbikes. They are rebuilding a whole village so all supplies will be welcome, as long as they are in good working condition.”
The team is also in need of 4WDs and drivers to assist with the transportation of items to Endau-Rompin.
To make contributions or volunteer for the next trip, contact Paulyne Leong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also please check out boo_licious of Masak-Masak on her own account of Buaya 4x4 Johor Flood Relief Trip @ 27 January, 2007. They'll be making another trip down this weekend, so please come back to check what are the goods they'll be needing for this coming trip.
Thank you all for your effort.