KOTA KINABALU: As Sabah is hit with another wave of Covid-19 after the state election, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia (Tzu Chi) has stood out in existing assistance for the people.
Tzu Chi was contacted directly by the heads of the Tawau, Keningau and Tuaran hospitals for extra beds, mattresses, bed sheets, tents, PPEs, test kits, gloves, facial masks etc.
So far, Tzu Chi has contacted Kuala Lumpur for assistance and allocated few millions to assist hospitals.
As of today, 250 beds have been sent to Tawau Hospital, 70 beds to Keningau Hospital, 70 beds to Sepanggar Rela Centre under the purview of Tuaran Hospital and 90 beds to Penampang Cultural Hall under the purview of Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
There will be another 1000 beds coming in on November 1st to stand-by for the expected further increase in COVID-19 related cases.
The portable beds have an interesting history of relief aid work of Tzu Chi as they were uniquely designed in Taiwan in response to the flooding situation in Pakistan in 2010.
When Pakistan was hit severely by the floods, Tzu Chi founder, Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen was moved to tears when she saw that victims had to sleep on wet floor grounds. She immediately ordered specially designed beds to be flown directly to Pakistan.
The beds are made of recycled materials which are portable and durable.
Even before when the first Movement Control Order (MCO) kicked-in in March 2020, Tzu Chi raised few millions for their humanitarian aid programme and sent in volunteers to distribute essential goods to those severely affected financially by the MCO all over Sabah.
Assistance was focused on those who were ineligible for government aid. It turned out that most of the areas visited were immigrants’ squatter areas and aid was given to the people irrespective whether they were documented or undocumented.
Tzu Chi Foundation is a charity foundation and has branches worldwide with its headquarters in Taiwan. It has been in Sabah since 1996 and has branches in Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Keningau and Tenom.