Slow recovery for Kampung Burong Pingai fire victims

National 2 minutes, 45 seconds


A FAMILY of eight who lost their home in Kg Burong Pingai to a fire a fortnight ago have so far received over $9,000 in donations from various agencies.

Speaking to The Brunei Times at their temporary residence at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex, Masnah Tuah said that she would likely need to secure between $15,000 to $20,000 so that she may be able to purchase a stilt house in one of Kampong Ayer’s villages but is unlikely to do so on her own as both she and her husband are unemployed.

“A few days after our house burnt down, we received an $8,000 donation from Yayasan and after that we had some more financial help from the Baitul Mal fund which gave us another $1,600 in addition to food donations from student volunteers,” said 40 year-old Masnah.

“However, it is still not nearly enough to purchase a house in Kampong Ayer. We could probably buy a cheaper house with the money we have at present but those kinds of houses would require repairs to make it habitable which we cannot afford at this time,” she said.

She said that her family’s monthly income is currently derived from the pension of her husband, who is a retired soldier, and making, repairing and selling fishing nets.

“We also get financial contributions for our children as all of them are still in school but all these (income) is just enough for us to survive from month-to-month and we have no car to get around easily,” she said.

Masnah said that with their current financial situation, her family just cannot afford the prices for a house on land.

“The stilt houses in Kampong Ayer are the cheapest houses I can find with enough space for all eight of us. We do not even need a brand new one with sturdy concrete pillars as a wooden one would suffice as long as we have a house of our own again,” she said.

“We prefer living on water anyway since we are Kampong Ayer people,” she said.

Her family moved into the unused empty rooms at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex a week ago after it was arranged by the Kg Burong Pingai Village Head Hj Abd Rahman Hj Omar and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports who runs the sports complex.

“We are grateful to the authorities and the village head for securing us a place to stay but this cannot be a permanent solution so we hope to be able to get help in purchasing a house for our family,” she said.

When contacted, Hj Abd Rahman confirmed that the Welfare Department had allowed them to stay at the sports complex and said that the initial length of time the family would be allowed to stay there would be three months.

“They were initially offered to stay at a government flat in Pulaie but it was not feasible as her children all study in the Lumapas area and they have no car so this was the best option left,” he said.

“The (welfare) agencies and I would continue to keep looking for a house for them in the meantime but if needed, we would consider extending their stay at the sports complex (beyond three months) until a house is found for them,” he said.

The Brunei Times