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Torrential rain for several days in mid-December 2021 led to unprecedented flooding in many parts of Malaysia. Images circulating online showed several areas submerged over the weekend of 18 December 2021 in water levels of more than 10 feet, not witnessed since the massive flooding of 1971. Scores of people in affected areas had to be transported by boat to temporary flood relief centres with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Lives of both humans and animals were lost as family members watched helplessly in horror as they were swept away. The affected people also suffered huge losses and the devastation and havoc wreaked by the raging waters spoke of a long period of recovery, physically, and more importantly, emotionally, for the flood victims.
As the flood water receded after several days, people returned to what was once their comfortable home, now left barren and muddy, with the unbearable stench of putrid debris and carcases and the fear of vector-borne diseases. The fear of the coronavirus seemed to pale in comparison to the fear and worry of the affected people as to how they could pick up the tiny pieces of what was left, if anything at all, and for many, to start all over again.
On social media, accounts began to emerge of Malaysians rallying together to aid rescue operations, and Inner Wheel Clubs of District 330 also sprang into action. A call by the Inner Wheel Club of Selangor to purchase gas stoves for the affected families saw the purchase of more than 100 gas stoves through the largesse of the Inner Wheel Clubs of Alor Setar, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Taiping, Ioras Ipoh, Subang Selangor and Klang, as well as a personal donation of 10 gas stoves from IPDC Shanti Menon. The Inner Wheel Club of Singapore West of District 331 reached out to help and is working with the Inner Wheel Club of Klang to aid in the relief operations.
Clubs also reached out to help in many other ways. IWC Kuala Lumpur and IWC Subang Selangor went down to ground zero to help in the clean-up operations, while IWC Klang cooked fried rice for over 300 families. Provisions, clothes including school uniforms, bedding, towels, medication, etc., as well as cash donations, were provided by the Inner Wheel Clubs of Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar, Apsaras, Seremban, Klang, Butterworth, Petaling Jaya, Pearl of the Orient and Kuala Lumpur North. IWC Subang also contributed to help an animal shelter which was not spared from the severity of the flood.
It is in times like this that Malaysians come out in droves to help the needy and everyone pulled together, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, to help wherever they could. Daily images on social media saw how the ordinary people rolled up their sleeves and plunged into raging waters to save lives and property. Inner Wheel Clubs of District 330 were not the exception. The way several Clubs stepped forward to help speaks volumes for the ideals of Inner Wheel of extending personal service.
It is heart-breaking indeed to hear of what the flood victims had to endure for several days. Perhaps, this is a lesson for the powers that be on the state of our national preparedness. It has to be a lesson well-learned and swift action must be taken to ensure such disastrous occurrences are averted in the future.