RM1,000 cash aid for every household affected by Pulau Burung landfill fire

THE Penang government will provide a cash assistance of RM1,000 to each of the 90 families affected by the Pulau Burung landfill fire in Nibong Tebal.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the disaster relief aid will be given to the victims starting from next week.


“It will involve 90 families from Kampung Kebun Baru and Kampung Ladang Byram who have been instructed to move to a temporary relief centre.


“Hopefully with the cash assistance given, it will help to reduce their burden during these trying times,” Chow told a press conference at Dewan Serbaguna Jawi in Nibong Tebal today.


Also present were state Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, Jawi assemblyman Jason H’ng Mooi Lye, State Secretary Datuk Dr Ahmad Jailani Muhamed Yunus and state Fire and Rescue Department operations assistant director Mohd Hafiz Hafizal Timaradin.


Chow said the fire covered an area of 28 acres out of a total of 82 acres of the landfill.


“And as of now, 58% of the 28 acres at the landfill are still burning.


“Thus, efforts to extinguish the landfill fire will still continue although the situation is under control now.


“Among the strategies that we use to extinguish the landfill fire are aerial water-bombing, building firebreaks and other effective methods as well.


“We also have divided the affected smouldering areas into five sectors to make it easier to put out the fire.


“Sector 1 covers an area of 4.19 acres, Sector 2 (3.75 acres), Sector 3 (6.20 acres), Sector 4 (6.10 acres) and Sector 5 is 8.23 acres.


“And for Sector 4, we have successfully put out the fire,” he added.


According to Mohd Hafiz, a total of 50 Fire and Rescue Services Department (JPBM) officers and personnel, including those from other agencies, are on duty each shift, seven days a week, 24 hours per day.


“We are also getting help from Negri Sembilan, Perak and Subang JPBM during the operation.


“The Department of Environment (DOE) is also helping us by using a drone that is equipped with thermal image to help identify the fire hotspots.


“The landfill fire is taking a longer time to be put out because of unstable wind directions from the nearby sea.


“Nevertheless, we are doing our best to put out the fire,” he said.


Meanwhile, Chow said from the 10 schools which were ordered to close earlier from Jan 19 to Jan 21, nine of them are allowed to reopen on Monday (Jan 24).


“The only school that is still not allowed to reopen is SJK (T) Ladang Byram because it is very near to the landfill fire.


“The schools that can reopen are SJK (C) Pai Teik, SMK Seri Nibong, SJK (T) Nibong Tebal, SK Seri Sentosa, SK Keledang Jaya, SJK (T) Ladang Changkat, SMK Methodist, SK Methodist and SK Nibong Tebal,” said Chow.


Chow added that all affected residents who have been instructed to move to a temporary relief centre will not be allowed to return to their homes yet until the air quality index reading is back to normal.


“The current report from DOE regarding the air quality index has shown some improvement but it still not consider safe yet.


“So, they need to wait for further instruction from the authority,” he added.


Earlier, Chow also visited the Pulau Burung landfill to assess its current situation.


Accompanying him were Jagdeep, H’ng and Dr Ahmad Jailani.


Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar
Video by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi