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SRI AMAN, August 20: Zero. Zilch. Nothing. That is how much is left when fire razed the longhouse in Kampung Sungai Merah, Pantu, to the ground yesterday.
“Everything is gone. All that we have is gone. This includes the paddy seeds that we need for planting this season,” longhouse headman Musih Kong, 59, told DayakDaily today.
Also perished in the fire were agricultural produce such as pepper and rubber, two cars and a shotgun. Also gone were belian wood that was meant to be used for the longhouse’s extension and renovation.
“We also lost our identification cards and other important documents,” said Musih.
The fire started at 4.38pm and before long, the 166 residents who used to reside in the longhouse’s 20 ‘bileks’ became homeless. Two nearby houses were also damaged by the fire.
Musih said in all, there were more than 40 families living in the longhouse because certain ‘bileks’ had two to three families.
Some of the victims are now taking shelter with their relatives staying nearby. Others are sleeping in a small ‘community hall’ that the longhouse folk use for daily gatherings and meals.
“We now sleep over at our relatives’ place, and we will gather at this place (small ‘community hall’) during meal time.
“The food that we cook every day is now shared among all of us (victims),” said Musih, adding that his people needed financial aid.
He hoped the government would quickly approve their application for the construction of a new longhouse. — DayakDaily