CAMERON HIGHLANDS - Residents here have banded together to care for flood victims following last Wednesday's disaster.
Among those involved are members of the Highlanders 78 group - comprising alumni of SM Sultan Ahmad Shah from the class of 1978 in Tanah Rata. The group swung into action immediately after the area was hit by floods and mudslides that claimed five lives and left more than 100 people homeless.
Housewife Mary Carmel, 53, said she and her former classmate Tang Kea Gek felt that they had to do something.
They contacted their fellow alumni, including those who had moved from the highlands and started their own relief efforts.
Within days, the group managed to raise more than RM20,000 cash and some essential items such as blankets, clothes and mattresses for the victims.
"We visited the victims who took shelter at the Ringlet community hall and distributed money and goods to the needy," added Carmel from Tanah Rata.
She said most of the evacuees had left the hall to stay with relatives or friends.
Comparing her hometown now and 30 years ago, Carmel said her childhood play sites and popular places where she hung out with her classmates were gone.
"The streams are clogged and covered with mud, and the woods where we used to take walks are gone.
"It's warmer now, and the air is polluted due to excessive fertilisation," she added.
Carmel has pleaded for a halt to housing development projects to prevent deforestation.