KOTA BAHARU, 30 December 2014 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Vice-Chancellor Professor Dato’ Dr. Omar Osman paid tribute to the entire university community who had worked hard to assist the flood victims despite the various hardships they and their own families are going through.
Omar said that he was overwhelmed by the outpouring concern shown and assistance rendered by so many staff and students towards the flood victims since the floods began about a week ago in the East Coast states.
“A thousand thanks to all those who have come forward to offer contributions in the form of labour, donations, prayer and even moral support to this noble cause as their compassion and efforts have truly showcased the spirit of 1USM.
“We are also very grateful to all medical volunteers from various tertiary institutions who came to help and the Ministry of Education which provides additional funding to aid the flood victims and deal with the disaster,” said Omar.
Speaking via teleconference after chairing a flood operations coordination meeting at the Flood Operations Centre at the Health Campus in Kubang Kerian with the Flood Operations Centre at the Main Campus this morning, the Vice-Chancellor said the university deeply appreciated the sacrifices of all those involved who worked hard, did not sleep at night and had to move to different places when the floods hit several states in the East Coast, particularly Kelantan where USM Health Campus is situated, Pahang and Terengganu.
The Vice-Chancellor had earlier visited again the Flood Operations Centre at Hospital USM (HUSM) and held meetings with the medical officers and staff about the needs and coordination efforts made as HUSM is the only hospital in Kelantan that was not inundated by flood waters and became the centre of housing patients who were tranferred from other hospitals affected by the floods.
“We will continue with these efforts and provide all the necessary facilities including bringing in medical doctors, paramedics, nurses and staff from the Advanced Medical and Dental Institute (AMDI) in Bertam and Pusat Sejahtera in Main Campus to assist here,” added Omar.
USM has mobilised its Volunteer Corps (Kor Sukarelawan), students and staff to assist the flood victims since last week.
Besides that, it also set up a 24-hour operations centre at the Student Affairs and Development Division to help in coordinating the efforts to bring USM students and those from other universities who were stranded to return to their respective campuses from Kelantan and also students from Kelantan who want to go to other destinations over the past week.
University officials and volunteers also helped to give advice and counseling to those who were brought back to campus feeling depressed and had to sit for certain examination paper at a later date.
With pride, Omar also expressed his appreciation for the sincerity and sacrifices of all the staff and students who helped each other in such a difficult situation.
“I came to know that there were even some staff who had to sleep in the office and halls in the Health Campus when their own homes were flooded.
"We are also very grateful to the Health Campus Director who coordinated all aid efforts in Kelantan Health Campus, the HUSM Director, deans and all the doctors and medical staff, paramedics and those who worked tirelessly day and night.
“They not only discharged their responsibilities but also tried to find various ways through existing network to provide the best facilities to those who need help to complement the assistance provided by various agencies and ministries especially the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health Malaysia," added the Vice-Chancellor.
USM will continue to send volunteers from among its staff especially those from the Main Campus to help with the chores of preparing food, cooking and other tasks as the students are currently sitting for their final exam while the students at the Health Campus are expected to take their exam very soon after it was postponed last Monday.
"We are also thinking on how to provide appropriate assistance to about 200 staff and students affected by the floods," said the Vice-Chancellor.
Also present in the discussion were member of the USM Board of Governors Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, Health Campus Director Professor Dato' Dr. Mafauzy Mohamed, School of Health Sciences dean Professor Dr. Ahmad Zakaria and senior officers from the Health Campus while in Penang, those present were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Professor Dato' Dr. Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal, Registrar Siti Zubaidah A. Hamid, Student Development Director Dr. Nazaruddin Zainon, Bursary Department Senior Deputy Registrar Mohammad Abdullah, Development Department Director Sr Haji Aziz Che Jusoh and several senior officers.
Since the floods began to hit Kelantan a week ago, coordination meetings have been held practically every day through teleconferencing between the flood operations centre at the main campus and similar centre at the Health Campus which also involved Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP). - Translation: Tan Ewe Hoe/Text: Mohamad bin Abdullah