Over 5800 people were evacuated to temporary evacuation centres after severe flooding caused by continuous heavy downpour hit the state of Johor.
Working collaboratively, Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (IMSHA) Winners Network consisting of over 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-governmental individuals (NGIs) provided emergency response to help victims to evacuate and assist with post-flood cleaning for areas where the flood water has receded.
Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob however cautioned that although not compulsory, aid providers are advised to take the Covid-19 test as a safety measure and to reduce risk of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
Caring for the safety and welfare of the NGOs and NGIs, KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn Specialist Hospital collaborated with IMSHA to sponsor Covid-19 RT-PCR swab tests for those with exposure in red zone areas.
“We care and appreciate the volunteers in helping the flood victims by providing them with RT-PCR Covid-19 test,” said KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn Specialist Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Noor Haslina Harun.
“It is our hopes that such measures could curb the infection of COVID-19 pandemic amongst the community,” she added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how humanitarian work is now carried out. Aid providers must work in stricter conditions, adhering to SOPs of social distancing, wearing facemasks, face shields, PPE and staying sanitized.
Welcoming the collaboration from KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn Specialist Hospital, the Founder of the Social Hero Foundation which runs the IMSHA programme said to handle a crisis amidst a pandemic raises new challenges but thanks to the caring society at large, the safety and spirits of humanitarian responders is never hampered.
“It is vital to deliver uninterrupted humanitarian aid to vulnerable people but the challenge is to ensure it is done while staying devoted to strict SOPs which is important for controlling the spread of COVID-19,” said Edey Suresh, Founder of Social Hero Foundation and IMSHA.
Helping to realise the collaboration is Dr Ng Kim Fong, President of Persatuan Doktor-Doktor Johor who have actively been collaborating with many IMSHA Winners Network of NGOs and NGIs.
“It’s amazing when NGOs in Johor work together as it enables us to give more to the people who are in need. Honoured that Persatuan Doktor-Doktor Johor can play our role in this collaboration,” said Dr Ng Kim Fong.
Among the NGOs who took the test were from Pertubuhan Ihsan Johor, Yayasan Kebajikan Suria, AmalTeam Johor, Kechara Soup Kitchen and Jewel.
Thank you to IMSHA and KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn for their help and concern in ensuring that we volunteers are always healthy and free from illness for the sake of us volunteers and the people we visit. May we all always be protected and continue to serve,” said Romzi Abdul Aziz from AmalTeam Johor.
Local humanitarian aid providers are not new to crisis situations but are now exposed on the pandemic’s front lines as they provide relief to victims and vulnerable communities. They shoulder the burden of providing aid to the communities that they have helped make better and COVID-19 adds to the already vast challenges faced. Connect with them and help them help others in whichever way that you can.