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By the end of December, following severe and enduring rainfall, the floods in Malaysia had claimed 21 lives and around 250,000 people had been forced to leave their homes.
Following unprecedented floodwaters, Malaysian National Security Council secretary Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab explained that the agency was unable to execute its disaster management plan as district teams were themselves so severely affected by the floods, they could not deploy. He was quoted saying, “In the districts, the front-liners of our disaster management machinery include the village headman and district officers. But due to the magnitude of the floods, most districts were completely inundated. Our entire district machinery collapsed as they had become victims themselves.”
Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan have been badly hit by floods as heavy rains continued unabated in that region. In the wake of this disaster, and concerned for the welfare of those devastated by the floods, the Shangri-La Hotel went into action and gathered a collection of items to send to the victims.
This included two lorry loads of bed sheets, towels and duvet covers, bathrobes, soaps, toothbrushes, 200 pairs of school shoes, school bags, books, toys, used clothing, shampoo and hair conditioner.
Manfred Weber, general manager of the Shangri-La handed the items over to K. Balasupramaniam, founder and chairman of the Malaysian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (MVFRA) on 26th December. Members of the hotel staff helped load boxes of the items onto the MVFRA truck.
The truck made its way to Pahang and Terengganu to deliver the items directly to flood victims in shelters where they have been evacuated, to help provide them with some relief and comfort.
Marking the ten year anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which affected so many people and livelihoods in high tourist areas, Green Hotelier is examining the role of hotels in disaster relief this month.
The situation in Malaysia demonstrates that at any time, disasters can strike and deeply affect the communities in which hotels are based, often including their own staff. With strong construction and their own power generators, hotels are often ideally placed to become a centre for action within disaster-struck regions, or to offer shelter and support to those affected. The Shangri-La has shown one way in which hotels can offer hope and assistance at times of need.
If your hotel has a story of helping during action on disaster relief, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org