Nurse on abandoned migrants:‘It was heart-wrenching to watch’

Nurse on abandoned migrants:‘It was heart-wrenching to watch’
A Rohingya child is examined by a Malaysian medical team a day after they landed at Pantai Pasir Berdengung beach in Langkawi island.

SIK, Kedah - Norhai Mat Shik has been a nurse for 36 years, but what she saw at the Langkawi International Shooting Range (Lisram) last week broke her heart.

Norhai, 60, is the head of the Welfare and Health Bureau of the Association of Muslimah Sisterhood (Salimah).

Her medical team helped to treat the 1,158 Rohingyas and Bangladeshi migrants who landed on the shores of Langkawi last week, after they were abandoned by a human ­trafficking syndicate.

"I served in the wards when I was a nurse, so I did not see many emergency cases. I was not on the frontline then.

"But this time, I was among the ­front-liners so it was so different. Looking at them (illegal immigrants) especially the children and women ... it broke my heart.

"It was emotionally and mentally challenging," said Norhai when contacted.

She said it was heart-wrenching to watch children and women who were ­malnourished and weak, with many too weak to even hold her hands.

"There was also a man who suffered from severe diarrhoea that he could not walk and almost fainted. I tried to put myself in their situation and it was unbearable," she said.

The Salimah medical team, comprising three retired head nurses including Norhai, a matron and a doctor also helped out when some illegal immigrants arrived in Perlis and during the floods in Kelantan last year.

Kedah Salimah deputy chairman Masadah Sajadi, 59, who also helped at Lisram recently said many women did not even know how to put diapers on their children.

"We had to demonstrate to them.

"I gave chocolates to the children as it will give them some energy, but when I did that, even the adults came reaching out for the chocolates. It was really sad to watch," said the retired teacher.

Despite having retired, both Norhai and Masadah said they would not stop reaching out to people in need.

"It is my responsibility as a Muslim to help anyone in need," said Norhai.

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