Four fishermen’s homes were damaged in the 26 July blaze
Faizal showing me his tiny home a few weeks before the fire
Now even that is gone: What’s left of Faizal’s home after the fire
In early July 2008, I wrote a blog entry ‘Where has all the tsunami money gone?’ highlighting the plight of several fisherfolk in Tanjung Bunga, victims of the 2004 tsunami that hit the shores of Penang. They were forced to relocate to temporary housing – actually, they were more like small cubicles in a longhouse on the beach – as they were unable to obtain lots in affordable flats built on the site of their former fishing village.
Now what little they had has literally gone up in ashes after fuel stored for their motorboats accidentally leaked and caught fire, seriously damaging four longhouse homes belonging to Faizal bin Mhd Yusuff, Ahmad bin Ismail, Ramli bin Din and Ismail on the night of 26 July 2008.
The fisherfolk received prompt assistance of RM300 from the Buddhist Tzu Chi group in Penang. They also received relief assistance of RM1,000 each from the Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah. The Penang Office for Human Development chipped in with close to RM10,000 to help the fisher folk replace their burnt nets so that they could go back to the sea as soon as possible.
Now the fishermen are hoping to rebuild their homes and repair the damage done. For that, they will need to raise a total of RM21,000.
They have opened a new account with two signatories, Ismail bin Din and Eustace Anthony Nonis.
Ismail bin Din (not one of the fire victims) is chairman of the Persatuan Nelayan Unit Tanjung Bunga while Eustace is chairman of the Penang Office for Human Development, which has done extensive work to assist marginalised communities in Penang. One of the fire victims, Faizal, is holding the savings account pass book, so the fisherfolk will know how much is going in and out of the account. All three of them will go to the bank when making withdrawals from the account, to ensure check and balance.
If you wish to help the fisher folk rebuild their homes, please go to any branch of Bank Simpanan Nasional and bank in a cheque or cash into account number 0713041000017034. Cheques should be made payable to either Eustace Anthony Nonis (IC no. 420704-07-5109) or Ismail bin Din.
If you prefer to mail a cheque, please make it payable to Eustace Anthony Nonis and mail it to him at the Penang Office for Human Development, Pusat Keuskupan Katolik, 290 Jalan Macalister, 10450 Penang. Please attach a note indicating it is for the Tanjung Bunga fishermen/fire victims. Payments sent by mail will be acknowledged.
Hope you will assist these fisherfolk. If you have made a contribution, do drop a note here in the comments section, so that Faizal, Eustace and Ismail can look out for it.
In connection with this, I believe the state government should consider setting up a Disaster Relief Fund to assist those who have lost their homes because of fire, floods or any other tragedy.