Kg Terunjing Baru fire victims appeal for help to rebuild house

National 3 minutes, 6 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

FIRE victims in Kg Terunjing Baru yesterday appealed to authorities to help them rebuild their destroyed house as they are not only homeless but are also without any belongings.

The Department of Community Development (JAPEM) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) have visited the survivors and offered assistance, including moving them to a temporary welfare house in Kg Belimbing.

However, Hj Bujang Ahim, the village head of Kg Lambak ‘A’ and Terunjing, said the house has to be renovated first before the fire victims could move in.

Rohana Jali, one of the fire victims, has accepted the fact that she and her other family members would not be spending the Ramadhan in their own home but has expressed her wish for their razed home to be reconstructed.

The family’s house was burnt down on Wednesday and the family members failed to save any of their possessions. The damage and the cause of the fire are still under investigation.

Rohana, who is a widow, said she would prefer to continue living at the house as it has been in their family for over 50 years spanning three generations.

“I have been living here since I was born, so it is sad that we can no longer stay there,” she said. “I hope the relevant authorities can help us rebuild the house.”

Entry to what is left of the burnt house is restricted and firefighters have cordoned off the place. But this did not stop Rohana from entering the fire scene to search for belongings which could have survived the blaze.

“I know it is dangerous, but there might be some items that didn’t burn from the fire,” she said. “So far the only thing that I found was my niece’s pendant.”

She said that her sister, Juriana Jali, went to the police station yesterday to report all the lost documents such as identity cards, driver’s license and the house deeds among others.

The plot of land is currently owned by Juriana after inheriting it from their late father, but they are unable to finance the rebuilding of the house which is why they are seeking assistance, Rohana told The Brunei Times.

At the moment, the three families living in the house are residing with relatives. Her two sisters are living in Beribi and Bandar, while she and her nephew are staying with her relative who lives next to her burnt house.

Fifteen people occupy the house they are currently staying. As there are a lot of people living in the house, she and her nephew have to sleep in the living room.

“I have to stay here because investigations are still going on, so they require someone to answer any question they have,” said Rohana, who was the only adult at the house when the fire broke out.

She added, “relatives have also been coming here after hearing about the fire, so at least one of us have to stay here”.

“Although (my sisters) are staying elsewhere, they do still come here because all the donations we received are sent here.”

She said that although they are thankful to receive assistance, she is worried about her nephews and nieces who are unable to go to school.

“(My nieces and nephews) cannot go to school if they want to, because they don’t have school uniforms or textbooks because they were burnt during the fire,” said Rohana. “The primary schools they go to has offered assistance, but we haven’t heard anything from the secondary school that my nephew goes to.”

She hopes that although it is the fasting month and working hours are short, the authorities act fast to help them be back on their feet.

The Brunei Times