31 January 2015 – International Medical University (IMU) worked through its team on the ground in Kelantan to deliver much needed aid to 800 families of those who are in the hardest hit districts: the village of Laloh and its surrounding villages, Kg Karangan, Kg Pemberian, Kg Lela Jasa and Kg Manjor. These supplies include cooking items, kitchen utensils, toiletries, clothing, candles, mosquito coils, mineral water, medical supplies and “Back to School” packs. These items were bought with the monies obtained from the IMU Foundation, IHH Healthcare (IMU’s parent company) and IMU staff. Donated items were sent to Kelantan in four 5-tonne lorries. Three of these carried donated items from the University’s main campus in Bukit Jalil while another lorry carried donated items from the IMU Clinical Schools. Those who are in the field reaching out to help those in the flood hit areas consist of 33 students from Bukit Jalil campus and Seremban Clinical School along with 5 corporate staff. The team, headed by Associate Dean, Clinical School, A/Prof Nazimah Idris, had to travel a 10-hour bus journey to the village of Laloh.
In the week prior to 31 January, much had to be done in terms of packaging as well as to deliver the aid to these people. A task that seemed unsurmountable at first became possible when droves of academic and corporate staff as well as students came to help. These packages were then loaded onto four lorries which would travel ahead of the relief team.
The team arrived at Kg Laloh before dawn and the area was still misty. As they disembarked from our transport, they were unable to make out the how badly had the flood affected this area. A feeling of dread and horror hung over everyone when dawn broke and the team saw the remains of houses still enveloped by mud. Many of the people hit by the floods were living in tents with debris and mud everywhere else. This did not deter the team from helping but instead steeled their resolve. The base operations for the distribution of aid was done at Masjid Laloh with the permission of the village’s imam or spiritual leader. At Sekolah Kebangsaan Laloh, there were makeshift clinics headed by Prof Azizi with 50 doctors under I-Medik, for them to attend to the sick. Three of our volunteers; Yeap Jo In, Lau Fui Yin and Muhamad Azamuddin also assisted in the clinic. Programmes for the school children were carried out simultaneously by Nurul Sakinah and her team of four volunteers for both 200 students from SK Laloh and 130 students of SK Karangan while their parents attend the I-Medik clinic. At Masjid Laloh, the remainder volunteers were arranged into four separate teams, each charged with the distribution of aid to a particular village. The team was fortunate as Yayasan Ikhlas with its throng of volunteers and vehicles were a boon to the mission. With their help as well as vehicles procured by A/Prof Nazimah, we were able to distribute 250 families in Kg Laloh, 150 families in Kg Lela Jasa, 150 families in Kg Karangan, 150 families in Kg Pemberian and 100 families in Kg Manjor. From strength to strength, our volunteers carried on through the day to ensure that the aid would reach as many families as possible. It is times such as these when the leadership qualities of students shine forth with the members of the clinical school stepping up to take charge of their teams and roles as leaders. After a long day, the IMU team made their way back home, travelling 10-hour bus journey. They felt tired but happy that they could, in some way, provide some assistance to the 800 families.
Commenting on the event, student Moi Zjen Pang “All in all, I believe that in such disasters we as future healthcare professionals should be keen and ever ready to lend a helping hand. With this mission I have seen that IMU’s students are among the most compassionate and driven individuals who are able to rally when the situation demands it. I truly believe that we can definitely make a change however few we may be. As long as we uphold the heart of service, we shall strive to make a difference.”
The University now have plans to have long-term community project at SK Laloh and intends to return there for more activities such as improving the English proficiency of the students and providing health education.