A fire that broke out around 9 pm at Kampung Ulu Rantau, Seremban on March 18, 2019, caused varying degrees of damage to seven houses, leaving some of the affected residents homeless.
On learning about the news the following day, Tzu Chi quickly mobilized a team of volunteers to assess the situation and gather the victims, and another team of volunteers was despatched to the fire site that afternoon. The fire site was a mess with burnt debris scattered everywhere, and a few houses were razed to the ground.
Village chief, Yan Tong Fat, informed that some of the houses were vacant and some were rented to foreign workers. Thus, volunteers only talked to victims from five households. Noticing the burn wounds on a victim’s hands, volunteers advised him to visit a hospital or clinic to have his wound cleaned and have dressing to prevent inflammation.
A lone elderly, Chong Nyok Sang, recounted that he was visiting a friend who lived nearby when the tragedy occurred. He hurried home to find the opposite house on fire. “The fire was about 20-feet high and it kept us from approaching,” he said. The intense fire and heat later spread to his house and triggered a cut-off in power supply.
Delivering practical aid and care
The fire victims received blankets and material supplies, along with house repair application forms from the Social Welfare Department. When Tzu Chi volunteers learnt that some victims had no change of clothes, they immediately contacted fellow volunteers to look for suitable clothing at the recycling centre. Upholding the principle of being “practical, focused and direct”, volunteers decided to provide relief cash to three households that were completely burned down.
On March 20, volunteers returned to the fire site to deliver Master Cheng Yen’s blessings, as well as some used clothes and relief cash to the fire victims. The timely aid brought comfort to the affected people and uplifted their spirits in facing the challenges ahead of them.
“I am more relieved now having received the aid (from Tzu Chi). I can use the money to buy clothes, school uniforms and shoes for my children,” shared Saroga a/p Sundaraja, who rented a house as her home was under renovation.
Another victim, Yong Loi Fatt, came across Tzu Chi for the first time. He was grateful to receive the cash aid, and although it is not much in value, he was moved by the volunteers’ sincerity. The village chief also expressed his gratitude to Tzu Chi for being the first organization to extend help to the fire victims after the governmental body.