Lifestyle

Volunteer Taman Sri Muda to volunteer for flood cleanup efforts – Wired PR Lifestyle Story

The end of the year was approaching, and Malaysia was probably ready to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Despite the omicron, the nation’s COVID-19 crisis seemed to be gradually resolving.

But then heavy rains came on December 16, 2021, and did not stop for several days. By the time the tragedy had headlines over the weekend, great damage had already been done.

Property and vehicles were damaged, people were left stranded, missing, found dead (48 bodies were being written at the time), and now tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

On the way we saw cars damaged by the floods

The situation was dire and dire, but communities that were able to help quickly began to raise funds and volunteer efforts to alleviate the impact of the flood.

Specialized companies like Aerodyne, a Malaysian drone solution provider, are also involved they offered their tactical drones to assist in search and rescue, to identify escape routes, to identify waterways, and so on.

Small businesses such as car repair shops and telephone repair shops began offering free services to help those affected by the flooding of vehicles and devices.

Since we weren’t equipped at the Vulcan Post to assist in more advanced flood mitigation efforts like the one above, what we were able to offer was manpower.

So my colleague and I went to Taman Sri Muda to help the founders SI Home Shelter, a shelter for rescued cats and dogs. Here’s what we learned through this volunteering.

1. You don’t have to limit yourself to charity if you want to volunteer.

Planning a volunteer fundraiser is hard work, so it makes sense to get in touch with established charities and join the already planned efforts.

But large organizations typically need more structured planning because they are dealing with a large volume of volunteers. Therefore, we may not be able to accommodate your schedule or requests.

If so, however, don’t stop volunteering. Instead, you can find other places that need your help and go to your liking.

This allows you to help charities that have not yet been contacted, and you can get to work much faster without having to wait for an organization to provide you with details.

We learned that the SI Home Shelter needed help through their social media because their house (an extension of the shelter that houses other rescue cats and dogs) was filled with mud and silt brought by the flood waters.

In 2019 we volunteered at this shelter, and we felt compelled to once again expand our support.

2. To help them effectively to find out what their current situation is.

Some important questions are: Have the floodwaters in their area receded? Do they have electricity? What about water supply? Do they need help lifting heavy items, getting necessities, or cleaning dry mud and dirt?

Everyone’s situation is a little different, so while one affected group needs more, another needs volunteer labor.

As we spoke to the SI Home Shelter, we knew that there was still no electricity around them. If we wanted to use any water jet, we would need a generator.

They have one, but we found out later why they are not always able to trust it.

3. Come prepared with your equipment, these are the essential tools.

One of several throws full of tools

In addition to the water jet, we brought other things, such as buckets, small and large scrapers, ashtrays, buckets / bins, weeds, washing machines, brooms, rolls of large plastic trash bags, and soap / detergent.

You can get most of these at low prices from Mr DIY or Giant.

Returning to the generator and the power jet, we realized that the water jet was not very useful due to the low water pressure.

Garbage bags, ashtrays and traces came in handy before we cleaned up the rubbish before we cleaned it.

When we got to the initial state inside the house

For smaller areas and items, we used long-handled metal jets, brushes (for example cleaning), and sponges.

Long-handled metal jets were very useful for cleaning dry mud in places that are difficult to reach in cages, tables, etc.

It smelled of rotten food and dirt from items like refrigerators, and had to be thoroughly cleaned.

Meanwhile, brush brushes were useful for more precise work in the grooves of items such as chairs or for flat surfaces such as dog bowls.

Rubber gloves and boots are essential. The surface of the gloves is also effective in removing some of the surface mud.

4. The one you prefer can help.

When we got home, we took a quick look around to assess the damage. That walk was awesome, the first floor of the house was the shell of what it once was.

The previous mess in the house limited easy entry and exit

The furniture was piled up on the porch of the house. Both floors of the bathroom had a thick layer of mud and a very bad smell.

There was so much to do, and it took us a moment to digest the sight in front of us.

Everyone rolled up their sleeves and immediately set to work

The drains in both toilets were actually filled with mud and silt. Since we didn’t unlock it well, we had to choose our fights.

The entrance and exit of the house were difficult with so many dirty things that were there, so we helped clean them up and get them out of the way.

The cleaned items were placed on the side

For toilets, we can do our best to remove the mud layer by hand and clean the floor without adding any more water, as there is no drainage system.

We also cleaned the inside as much as we could

5. Although some items are severely damaged, they may be useful to owners.

Remember to ask before throwing anything away. Being dirty, broken or in a pile of other “rubbish” does not mean that it has no more sentimental value for the owner.

We made sure to check with the owners what they intended to store or where we could take the items.

Then we put the things in several bags and left them in the specified places so that they would not be accidentally dumped with the rest of the rubbish.

6. It is good not to have an elegant electrical tool, manual work is highly valued.

As I said before, we brought water jets but in the end we couldn’t use them. But our hands and the basic tools at our disposal were enough.

In over 3 hours, we were still able to clear most of the mud from the house and items.

It has improved a lot within the situation

At the end of the day, every little effort and support is worth it, even if it’s just to help you clean or transport the buckets. There is no trivial role in a scenario where teamwork is needed.

– // –

We were a small but strong group, we could see the difference we made in the shelter at home.

Not only was it cleaner, it wasn’t messy. Now, owners could move around a little more freely and use items that are clean.

Shortly before we left, a new group of volunteers joined. Now they let us take the place and clean other areas.

Doing everything we can to clean up as much as we can

It was a rewarding sight to see the physical impact of our work, to clean and dry the dry mud from the elements and floors, what was most enriching was the spirit of community we felt when we came together and held out our hand.

All the other volunteers we met at SI Home Shelter that day were a person who had come to help, after seeing the messages on the social networks of the shelter asking for help.

Completely unfamiliar with the desire to help

As we worked together, we got to know each other better and the relationship we built eased the atmosphere and improved teamwork. Someone even put on some cheerful music afterwards, which kept us motivated.

Lu Yee, Nas, Rohana, and other volunteers we have cleaned up with SI Home Shelter, it has been a pleasure to work with you to create a positive impact on this much-needed time.

That said, there is still a lot of work to be done. SI Home Shelter was the only place we met that day. Throughout the neighborhood, we saw roads full of large, damaged items that the council has not yet cleaned.

Roads and sidewalks were full of damaged things

There were also a lot of smaller piles of garbage in all of them. These should be cleaned as soon as possible as they can spread bacteria and disease.

But Taman Sri Muda is also not the only area affected. One of the worst areas of the floods has received a lot of media attention, but other areas that need urgent help are Hulu Langat, Port Klang, Bukit Tinggi and so on.

Hopefully, this article can inspire you with your volunteer efforts as you make an impact on the ground (small or large).

  • If you can’t volunteer physically, check out our list of fundraisers to help with the floods here instead.




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