Monday, August 2, 2010

DAMAGES FROM FLOODS AND RAINS - Charity should begin at home

Raymond's letter to the New Paper on the above subject is published today in the New Paper, Monday 2 August 2010, page 18.

I refer to the report, “Who should pay when this happens?” (The New Paper, July 25).

Though the authorities have indicated that the recent floods and fallen trees are considered acts of God, the Government agencies involved must also bear some responsibility for those who have suffered hardship.

We are not only facing an ageing population, but we are also witnessing ageing trees.

When the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico hit homes, businesses and livelihoods, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in America took up the matter with British Petroleum asking the company to provide financial support for those affected. That is the way to go.

Project Manager Chua Loong Wai, who was crushed to death by a fallen tree was only 32 when he lost his life. He perished in a most cruel way.

His family members must be going through enormous pain and suffering. Surely there should be an effort to see that they are not put under more stress because of difficulties in securing compensation?

The Singapore Government has been giving generously in cash and kindness to support victims and families affected by natural disasters in other countries. And it has done so almost immediately. No questions asked.

I wonder whether our own citizens who have suffered losses caused by floods and fallen trees have got the same kind of assistance.

Shouldn't charity begin at home?

Certainly, there needs to be better welfare for Singaporeans going through the stresses of life, and these include citizens who are marginalised.

In addition to the money and resources that is being given to countries affected by natural disasters, the Singapore Government should start an emergency fund to help Singaporeans affected by disasters in our own country - natural or otherwise.

The National Environment Agency could also start a fund-raising effort to help the affected families.

I have every confidence that our citizens would readily come forward to support this worthy cause. Religious bodies could also be roped in to lend support to the affected victims and their families.

Only when we are able to care for each other unconditionally, can we truly build a gracious, caring and cohesive society that will stay resilient in facing the many challenges ahead.


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