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PENANG, 5 January 2015 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) will assist about 300 of its staff affected by the recent floods in Kelantan and will participate in the post-flood operations process in the state.

Its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato' Dr. Omar Osman said in his office here, the university is seeking available funds to provide the much needed help to those affected to ease their burden.

"The donation amount may not be big, but it is hoped to lighten their burden particularly in rebuilding their livelihoods as most of them had their property badly damaged or completely destroyed by the devastating floods and natural disaster, not only in the state of Kelantan, but also in the recent storm that hit Balik Pulau in Penang recently," said Omar.

He added that USM sympathised with the plight of its staff there who were badly affected and understand their feelings; among them, there were those who lost everything, including houses that they have just moved in were swept away by flood waters.

“We pray and hope that they will be strong in dealing with this ordeal as they face the challenges ahead in the cleanup and recovery process.

“USM has mobilised its volunteers, especially among its staff to help the staff affected by the floods there and I also know that several USM schools and departments had formed their own volunteer teams to assist the flood victims, which is certainly a praiseworthy act that is always lauded by the university," said Omar.

According to Omar, USM will also provide assistance to the Kelantan people including sharing its expertise with Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) in implementing long term post-flood recovery and rebuilding programmes.

Omar and some Ministry of Education senior officials, headed by the Chief Secretary II Dato' Seri Dr. Zaini Ujang and Higher Education Department Director-General, Professor Dato’ Dr. Asma Haji Ismail visited UMK Campus in Pengkalan Chepa and was briefed by UMK Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Dr. Mortaza Mohamed.

He added that all universites in the country should come together to share their expertise and play a more dominant role in helping the community especially during disasters such as the floods that have hit the country.

We also feel sad and anguished as we witnessed the pain and suffering of the flood victims and the variety of physical facilities, schools and library books been swept away and damaged by the flood water,” added Omar.

USM had earlier sent a few teams of volunteers from among the staff and students to help in the clean-up works in the flood affected schools in Kelantan, joining other volunteer teams from various public universities across the country that have converged there.

USM is expected to send three flood humanitarian mission teams to Kelantan this week begining with the first team leaving tonight,” said Omar. - Translation: Tan Ewe Hoe/Text: Mohamad bin Abdullah

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