More cash relief for flood victims

More cash relief for flood victims
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin helping out the mud clearing in the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pulau Tawar school' s compound, in Jerantut.

JERANTUT, MALAYSIA - Some 82,000 households will receive RM500 (S$188) each from the Government as immediate relief aid in the aftermath of the floods.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said all floods victims who had registered with the authorities would be entitled to the one-off special aid to be paid out as soon as possible.

The Deputy Prime Minister said flood victims who did not seek shelter at centres would also be given the cash aid.

"However, they must be certified by district or welfare offices before payment can be made.

"We hope those affected will not delay in getting themselves registered within one week unless their areas are still flooded.

"The Cabinet agreed to give out this special aid to lessen the people's burden after taking into account the magnitude of the floods," he said after chairing Pahang's post-floods co-ordination meeting at the district office here.

Muhyiddin said the families of 23 people who lost their lives during the floods would receive a bereavement payment of RM5,000 each.

He said the Cabinet had also agreed to provide three-day food rations for those who returned to their homes from the relief centres.

"For families whose homes have been completely destroyed, the Government will build temporary houses until a permanent site is identified by the state government.

"I will be meeting the Prime Minister to decide on the type of structure for the construction of these temporary homes," he said, adding that unused facilities such as National Service camps or teachers' hostels could also be used to house homeless victims for the time being.

Muhyiddin said those who chose to seek shelter at their relatives' homes could do so, and the Government would consider giving them assistance in the form of cost of living allowances.

"We have also received a suggestion to give out non-food items such as gas stoves, pillows and mattresses to help victims rebuild their lives.

"All these are still being looked into as it would incur additional costs for the Government," he said, adding that individuals, companies and non-governmental organisations could look into sponsoring these items to share the burden.

Muhyiddin said the Government had directed the relevant agencies such as Public Works Department and local authorities to use available allocations to repair damaged roads and bridges connecting villages and towns.

If the damage was substantial, a report should be submitted to the National Security Council to seek allocations from the Finance Ministry to carry out repairs, he said.

"The Prime Minister has ordered a comprehensive study to find out the reasons behind the occurrence of devastating floods and come up with suggestions to mitigate the problem.

"In the United States, Japan and Korea, there is a dedicated department with the necessary assets to tackle disasters full time, but we have not decided whether to set up such a department," Muhyidddin said.

Muhyiddin added that the present standard operating procedures would be reviewed to improve the Government's preparedness and management of extraordinary flood situations.

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