Flood relief fund launched
By Sonia K.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented for the establishment of a fund for the flood victims in the Temburong District called "Tabung Bantuan Mangsa Banjir Daerah Temburong".

The fund is open for members of the public to donate and can be done through the Ministry of Home Affairs or Temburong's District Office.

Just a few hours of the announcement, over $160,000 in donations poured in from more than 30 companies in the government and private sectors, banks and individuals to aid victims of the devastating floods in the Temburong District, the worst ever to hit the Sultanate.

The donations were handed over yesterday during a briefing held at the Fire and Rescue Department Multi Purpose Hall, Berakas, which was chaired by the Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Mohd Yusof.

Among the generous contributors were Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, which donated $25,000, DST Group donated $20,000, and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam and Pehin Dato Paduka Goh King Chin each donated $10,000.

According to the Minister of Home Affairs, the aim of the fund is to help ease the burden of the flood victims in the district. It will also be used to clean the area and repair damages caused by the flood.

The chairman of the fund will be Acting Temburong District Officer Awg Metussin bin OKS Haji Tuba.

The minister has been visiting the flood-affected areas every day for the past three days.

He expressed his sincere thanks for the fast and spontaneous response by relevant agencies, members in the government and private sectors, as well as individuals.

During the briefing, the minister said close to 260 houses, eight schools have been hit by the flash floods, while almost all Mukims in the district have bore the wrath of the nature's fury.

Electrical goods, household items, clothing and other personal belongings of the victims were lost in the flood. On top of that, some houses also suffered minor damages.

He said the overall situation in the district is back to normal and only one or two houses are still waiting for the floodwater to subside before clean-up and repair jobs could be held.

He also said ferry services at Kampong Ujung Jalan are back in operation after they were temporarily halted due to the river's strong current. Water taxi services to Bandar Seri Begawan are operating normally.

Acting Temburong District Officer Awg Metussin gave a brief presentation and slide show on the flood and the damages it has caused to homes, schools, vehicles and residents in the district.

According to the acting district officer, all the hotels in the district were fully occupied and the Dewan Belalong was also used to accommodate the flood victims until the water receded.

He also said that electrical connections in some areas of the district have been fixed and supply has resumed since 9pm Sunday.

The Community Development Department (JAPEM) under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has been providing basic necessities such as food, water, candles and others.

The Department of Electrical Services also conducted safety operations to ensure that electrical power distribution is orderly and safe and will not cause any danger to the residents. - Borneo Bulletin (12th Feb 2008)