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Najib: RM1.5b needed to rebuild lives of 'extraordinary' flood victims
29/01/2007 The Sun R.Manirajan

PUTRAJAYA (Jan 29, 2007): The government has to spend a staggering RM1.5 billion to make good the damage from the extraordinary floods in several states.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said aside from repairs to infrastructure, the amount would include financial aid and cash grants to the victims to help them rebuild their lives.

Speaking to reporters after chairing a National Disaster Managment and Relief Committee meeting here today, Najib said the amount included the RM350 million approved by the cabinet at the weekly meeting last Wednesday (Jan 24) to the Public Works Department for infrastructure repairs.

Other expenses:

  • RM137 million to the Rural and Regional Development Ministry to repair roads in rural areas;

  • RM102 million to the Education Ministry to repair and buy new equipment for affected schools;

  • financial aid to the first and second wave of flood victims at RM200 each per flood event and

  • RM500 as a one-off payment for damaged household electrical equipment; and

  • RM1,000 to RM3,000 to victims whose houses were damaged.

Najib said the Drainage and Irrigation Department would be submitting its proposal and cost on repair work on rivers and drains that need to be done as soon as possible.

As for houses that are totally damaged by the floods, he said Syarikat Perumahan Negara would rebuild these houses either in the affected areas or on land owned by the flood victims.

"There are about 45 houses totally damaged by the recent floods and there are also some houses which are no longer habitable. For the non-livable houses, the government will look into the cost first before deciding further."

The first wave of floods in December affected about 148,000 people while the second wave earlier this month affected some 134,000 people.

Victims are still reeling from the aftermath of the natural disaster, and on the ground, the government is still working to ensure that aid reaches them as quickly - and as fairly - as possible.

As for the money collected from the corporate sector and the public for the flood victims, Najib said some the funds would be used to rebuild the damaged houses.

He assured that "the government will give a total account of this and we will be transparent about it".

He said the total amount of losses to be borne by the government did not include assistance to the private and commercial sectors as Bank Negara, through the banks, would be providing the necessary help.

Najib also said as the flood problem is extraordinary, the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee would be expanded and district officers would be given more powers, like coordinating relief work.

"During the flood situation, the district officers must hold meetings everyday and work hand in hand with Members of Parliament and state assemblymen to help flood victims, by coordinating proper relief work and assistance. This includes working with non-governmental organisations," he said.


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