World | National

Displaced Sabah villagers plead for food supplies

Evacuees from the fighting in Lahad Datu, Sabah. (photo by Nigel Aw,
The online news portal of TV5

Villagers displaced by the clash between security forces and Filipino militants in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, are pleading for more food supplies to be sent to relief centres.

NONEOne such centre is located in Embara Budi, some 5km from Tanjung Labian.

"The government has sent some rice and cooking utensils but it is not enough," said Abdul Mukram (right), 32, who fled from Tanjung Labian four days ago.

He and other villagers left after hearing rumours that some of the armed intruders at Kampung Tanduo had infiltrated the neighbouring village of Tanjung Batu.

Abdul said the shortage of food has meant that those displaced have to what they need from the town.

"Those who do not have money just have to fast," he said, adding that packed food had been sent only once in the last four days.

NONEAishah Idris, 40, a mother of four, said there are infants in the group but that there is no milk for them.

"We have no choice, we have to feed them Nestum," she said.

She also said the villagers are in need of blankets as they are sleeping on the cement floor, using pieces of cardboard and sheets for beds.

Malaysiakini today had to conduct these interviews from outside the perimeter fencing, as police have barred the media from entering the hall

NONECommunity chief Assaffal Alian (right), 48, said there are at least 1,500 displaced people to date - 650 people accommodated at Embara Budi and another 850 at Fajar Harapan, a small town 10km down the road.

"The food supply is okay as we got some help from villagers and shop operators here, as well as from individuals and a local Umno division. But if this continues, it will not last and we will need more food," he said.

There is also a need for an ambulance and medical team to be on standby, he added, as some women have just delivered babies. Children have come down with fever and diarrhoea.

The displaced villagers are from Kampung Tandou, Tanjung Batu, Tanjung Labian, Sungai Bilis, Lok Sembuang, Lok Buani and Kampung Ubian, among others.

Water shortage

A check at Fajar Harapan found that displaced villagers have been placed in three centres

NONEAt the Sekolah Kebangsaan Fajar Harapan, which serves as a centre, there is water shortage.

"Only one water tank has water, so we have to buy mineral water. To bathe, we go to the river," said Nur Malik, 30 (left).

A little girl was seen washing dishes with river water collected with a mineral bottle, while the women have set up cradles along the corridor for infants.

"We all just sleep on the floor along the corridor and in the school hall," said Nur.

Malaysiakini had met some 300 villagers fleeing from Kampung Sungai Merah yesterday, but was unable to locate them in any of these centres.

According to a reliable source, they have been escorted by security forces to an undisclosed location via an oil palm plantation.

(This report was first posted on the independent news site Malaysiakini and is used here with permission.)