Malaysia floods: Helping others helps her move on

A massive underwater quake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale rocks the seabed 300km west of Medan, Sumatra, at 7.58am Indonesia time (8.58am Singapore time), triggering a tsunami.

When the deadly tsunami struck Penang in 2004, survivor Tan Poh Choo lost her four children.

"It is something that will always stay in my mind," a teary-eyed Ms Tan told The Star on Sunday as she recalled the Boxing Day tragedy a decade ago.

Since the disaster, Ms Tan said she had not been able to move on and always felt depressed.

"Every day, I think of my children. However, after looking at the flood victims in Kelantan, I am inspired to help them," she told the newspaper after distributing aid at a secondary school, SMK Kubang Kerian 2, in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Ms Tan was among the hundreds of volunteers from the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation who distributed humanitarian assistance at several flood relief centres across Kelantan.

She said the memory of her children was her main inspiration, adding that the humanitarian activities have turned her life around.

"It has helped me move on and I keep myself busy by helping others. I hope that the lives of the flood victims will return to normal," she said.

The volunteers had chartered a commercial flight to carry the aid from Penang.

Some 900 families at the relief centres received the aid, which included food, blankets, medical equipment and cash.

Evacuee Norizan Ismail, who is in her late 40s, sad she lost her source of income when the floods swept away her house in Kampung Waqaf Che Yeh.

"My house was totally submerged five days ago and I have lost my source of income," said Ms Norizan, who, as a cleaner, had kept her equipment in the house.

"I have two disabled children and my husband is not well," added Ms Norizan.


Relying on aid from the authorities, she was glad her family had escaped unscathed from the rising waters.

"I do not know what to do now as the school stuff I bought for my children was left at home when we escaped," she said.

Nine people have been confirmed dead since Dec 17 in the badly-hit state of Kelantan.

This article was first published on December 30, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.