On 13 February 2014 heavy rains caused floods to the south western part of Sabah district of Tenom, Beaufort and Keningau. The floods were said to be worst in Beaufort since 1981 according to news reports. There were over 4000 evacuees in the three districts with over 2000 in Beaufort. St Paul’s Church Beaufort identified 33 families who are members of the church to be affected by the flood. The Diocese Welfare and Relief Board worked together with Rev Thien Vun Fui and members of St Paul’s Beaufort to launch a relief operation on 20 February 2014 to distribute relief food supplies to the church families and their neighbors. St Paul’s Church Beaufort which is situated on top of a hill was not affected by the floods. The area surrounding the church was submerged in waters more than 3 metres high.
The relief operation targeted to cater for 100 families including families of affected church members, their neighbours and houses surrounding the church. RM10,000 was contributed by the Diocesan Welfare Fund to St Paul’s Church Beaufort for this operation which covers the purchase of relief supplies and cash donations of RM100 to each of the 33 affected families. Each family receive a set of items which consisted of 10kg rice, 5 types of canned food, a pack of sugar, instant noodles, a pack of biscuit and a pail. Most of the goods were purchased from the neighbouring town of Papar. Youths from the church helped in arranging the packages.
The relief team which consisted of 11 members started distribution at 9am beginning from houses surrounding the church. The area which was still flooded the day before was accessible on the day of operation and distribution was carried out from door to door lead by Rev Thien. All the families welcomed the presence of the team and received well the contributions while cordial relationship was established in most of the homes visited with a brief conversation of their recent flood experience. Most related the horror of the flood which reached the first floor of the house. It was a great opportunity to reach out to the community and for further follow up in future to share the good news of gospel. Day one relief distribution finished in early afternoon. Later part of the day survey was done in outskirts area and found that water had receded in almost all areas. In subsequent days the distribution had been completed to 100 homes.
- Dr Peter Thien
(Chairman of Diocesan Welfare and Disaster Board)