Belait old folks home plagued by snakes, break-ins

National 2 minutes, 14 seconds

BELAIT

THE old folks living at the Community Service Centre in Seria, Belait, are confronted with a worsening security issue as residents face frequent threats of snakes in the compound and report constant break-ins into their homes.

Six members from the Rotary Club of Belait (RCB) and a volunteer visited the compound on Sunday, responding to frequent snake sightings by residents in the drains and trees. They helped clean up the surrounding areas from waste food and bush, and attempted to smoke out hiding snakes with sulphurous smoke.

“We’re also trying to educate the residents here to change their habits. For example, we tell them not to throw their food waste in the compound. This attracts rats, which in turn, attract snakes,” said RCB Club Service Director Toh Fui Mung said that they were considering asking the professional advice of the Fire and Rescue Department in dealing with the snake problem.

Sixty four-year old Manni Ratnam is one of the residents who claim to have seen snakes on several occasions recently.

“I managed to kill one, splashing hot water on it and then beating it to death. The snakes are black and they always rear up, hissing.”

Another serious security issue was the rising number of break-ins recorded at the home, sometimes right under the noses of the elderly residents, several of whom are immobile.

“Many of the residents here keep their money on their person or lying around in their rooms. People have been known to come into the compound to steal cash or rob the residents. We are asking residents to start keeping their money in bank accounts, and ensuring that all thefts are reported to the police,” said Toh.

RCB may also consider working with the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) to see if the home could be monitored more closely with police patrols or by installing a police box at the home, seeing that it is an easy target for thieves, lacking proper gated fencing and security guards.

RCB President Helen Tang also handed over a first aid kit to centre warden Sophia Ting, in addition to a set of workman’s tools to add to the home’s inventory.

“Previously, the Prisons Department would send inmates here as part of their community service but the centre lacks proper tools to help with minor repairs and clean-up work. Should this type of arrangement resume in future, at least the inmates would be able to properly help the centre,” said Toh.

The club is also planning to formulate an evacuation plan for the centre, including holding fire and evacuation drills as the centre currently does not have any existing one.

The Brunei Times