Gov’t opens Gua Musang shelter for discharged Orang Asli

Gov’t opens Gua Musang shelter for discharged Orang Asli

PUCHONG: The government has set up a temporary facility capable of housing 400 people at the former National Service Training Camp in Etnobotani, Kelantan to house those from the Batek community once they are discharged from hospital.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the facility was necessary to monitor the former patients while the government investigates what is causing a pneumonia outbreak among the community.

“For now, about 50 people will be placed at the centre,” she said, in a statement.

The area has been declared as a health ‘red zone’ and has been closed to the public.

Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said that the government would also take care of the Orang Asli community’s welfare.

Aside from health education, she said the villagers and workers at the nearby mining area are being offered counselling to deal with stress and anxiety in the face of the unknown outbreak.

She added that the public is welcome to donate essential items to the villagers to ease their burden, but reminded them that area is closed to the public for now.

“The government understands that the people and NGOs want to help the Batek community but the public are not allowed to distribute the aid themselves.

“The government will help assist in channelling the aid,” said Wan Azizah.

Those interested can send items like food supplies, mineral water, hygiene kits, blankets, slippers, and nail clippers to the public helpline collection centre, Felda Aring 10 control centre, or the Gua Musang Social Welfare Department for the government to distribute to the villagers.

On the water quality at the area, Wan Azizah said that the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Chemistry Department have confirmed that the raw water collected from the Aring 10 manganese mine 3km away from the Orang Asli village fulfilled the national standards.

“The water storage facilities in the village had not been polluted by any waste or harmful mining by-product,” she said.

She added that the authorities have found eight of the 12 scattered graves of the dead Batek people and their bodies will be exhumed for a post-mortem to find out what caused their death.

Also present with Wan Azizah were Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy and Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.