Some Kuala Koh villagers ‘return’ to receive aid

11 Jun 2019 / 20:25 H.

GUA MUSANG: Some of the 100 villagers from the Batek tribe who moved to the forest areas have returned to their permanent settlement in Kuala Koh here since early this morning.

However, the rest were said to have disappeared deep into the interior of the jungle due to the fear of the presence of officials from government agencies like the Health and Fire and Rescue departments.

A resident, Inja Punai 32, said the villagers were split into two factions, one that loved to move about due to fear and shyness, while the other group did not mind receiving assistance.

He said those currently residing in temporary settlements about 3km from the main settlement continued to return after being informed of the distribution of aid by government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“I returned to the permanent settlement early this morning after being told about food and beverage distribution and health checks,” he said.

“I do not know what the problem and cause of infection are but my wife, Jelama Jaafar, 36, and four children aged between three and 17 years have been infected with the same disease.

“As soon as I realised they were ill and since I did not want the same thing to happen to them like the 14 people who died, I took them to a hospital in Terengganu for treatment because my wife is from there,“ he said when met here today.

Meanwhile, another resident, Kolon Terbon, 70, said he moved around to find fruits and clean water since last month.

“I’m afraid the disease will spread and infect all residents, including children. We have been relying heavily on donations from NGOs visiting this village for food and drinks, and if we do not, we will look for forest produce and clean water supply in hill and river catchments,“ he said.

The Batek tribe in Kuala Woh is faced with a crisis as a number of their people have died of lung infection. The authorities have swung into action to contain the outbreak. — Bernama

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