KOTA KINABALU: Cash assistance for each family affected by the northeast monsoon or other disasters has been increased from RM500 to RM1,000, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The Prime Minister said the central disaster management committee meeting he chaired on Monday had agreed to double the cash aid.

He said the government is aware of the hardship faced by victims following disasters, coupled with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This initiative is expected to help ease the burdens of some 39,100 households, involving more than RM39.5mil from the National Disaster Relief Trust Fund.

“This is among the government’s new measures to improve the preparedness of facing the northeast monsoon which is expected in early November until March next year, involving the east coast states, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ismail Sabri also announced an RM18.24mil allocation from the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) to Sabah following flash floods and landslides in the state’s west coast districts of Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Putatan.

“The RM18.24mil allocation is for 2,000 food kits, 2,500 units of C-Tent, the state disaster management committee operation, the operations of 22 district disaster management committees and Covid-19 operation management in Sabah.

“I hope some (of the allocations) will be utilised for managing the welfare of landslide victims.

“My sympathies to the families of those who lost their loved ones in the disasters,” he added.

There were at least two landslides which destroyed homes including construction quarters, and three deaths, reported in Penampang district on Wednesday.

Ismail Sabri also said an e-Sumbangan system is being developed to coordinate contributions from donors and non-governmental organisations to disaster victims.

He said the assistance must go through the district, state or central disaster management committee so that any assistance is more systematically coordinated.

“Volunteers who want to distribute or deliver assistance must get permission from this committee as they are more familiar with the needs of the victims.

“At the same time, all agencies must share existing assets in their states with corporate bodies, NGOs and individuals at the local level, to carry the responsibility together and embrace the Malaysian Family spirit,” he said.

The Prime Minister took time off his first official trip to Sabah for the Malaysia Day celebrations to visit victims of a landslide in Penampang.

He got a first-hand look at the landslip at Segumau Madsiang along the Penampang-Tambunan road, where three families were affected by the natural disaster.

Accompanied by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and state Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Minister Shahelmey Yahya, Ismail Sabri also handed out daily essentials to the 19 landslide victims.

- The Star