Monday, January 22, 2007

Floods in Johor

It’s an unmitigated disaster alright. The floods in Johor, although subsiding, are causing unease as weather reports point to more rain in the days ahead. Last month’s rain which triggered the worst floods in 100 years devastated homes, displaced over 100,000 people and killed 15 according to various reports. The damage is going to put a dent in Pak Lah’s high-impact development plan for Johor (dubbed the Iskandar Project) which was planned as a showcase of the recently launched 9MP. But for now, flood victims are in dire need of food supplies and cash. Health concerns are rising and at least 2 persons were reported to have died due to contaminated water.

I’m glad to hear that churches are quietly dispatching help. NECF is encouraging churches to mobilize volunteers to help in clean-up, and distribution of food and cash. Meanwhile CREST (Crisis Relief Services and Training) was among those that responded at the start of the crisis. Another Christian NGO Harapan Komuniti which was involved with tsunami victims in Kedah is also helping out in Muar, while a major church in KL raised over RM100,000 towards flood relief. All these signs of engagement in our community are a testimony of churches living out their mandate to love their neighbours, to be a city on the hill. Malaysian churches commendably responded with compassion in the wake of 2004's catastrophic tsunami by sending aid and volunteers to far-flung places in Aceh. This time, disaster is in our own backyard. In times like this, nothing fleshes out the gospel more than a genuine helping hand. God knows Malaysia needs it.

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