Fire victims ask gov’t help for homes

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

FAMILIES affected by the fire in Kg Tamoi Ujong yesterday sought the assistance of the government and the public to help rebuild their homes.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Hjh Surayani Hj Siasani, one of the victims who was left homeless after last week’s fire, said that she was hoping to get assistance to construct a house from relevant authorities or even the public.

She added that she and her family of six are currently residing at her mother-in-law’s house in the same village, bringing the number of people living in that house to over 20.

“We are grateful for it. But it is hardly ideal. We have to cramp ourselves as there are more than 20 of us living under the same roof,” said Hjh Surayani on the sidelines of yesterday’s gift-giving ceremony to students of Kg Lurong Sikuna and Kg Tamoi Ujong affected by the recent fire.

Held at the Haji Tarif Primary School, the Department of Schools conducted the event to provide material assistance in the form of toiletries and daily wear to the affected students.

On hand to present the gifts was the the guest of honour, Senior Special Duty Officer of Department of Schools, Ministry of Education Hj Azis Hj Nayan.

Still traumatised by the incident that befell her family, the tearful Hjh Surayani disclosed that the Brunei Islamic Religious Council and Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah gave them financial assistance. The public also donated clothes and food, while the school where her children go extended uniforms, books and others.

Their family is underprivilege, with a husband who earns less than $150 a month from fishing and repairing houses.

“We cannot afford to build or buy a new house,” she said, reiterating her appeal to the government, the public and also non-government organisations for assistance.

Her family gets a monthly welfare assistance of $260, but she said it’s not enough after the fire razed everything, and since three of their children still go to school.

Another fire victim at Kg Tamoi Ujong, Harini Hj Haris, a single mother caring for a family of nine, including her 80-year-old mother, told The Brunei Times during the event that they also need a new house that they can settle for good.

They are now living at a house lent by her brother in Kg Tamoi following the fire.

An unemployed widow, Harini raises the family with the monthly $800 welfare fund from the Department of Community Development.

Five of Harini’s seven children are still in secondary school. Two of her children were inflicted with kidney disease.

“We are grateful for all the assistance and help given to us so far, but as of now, my priority is to get a new house or even rent one so that we can live our life the way we used to,” she said.

The Brunei Times