Relief fund set up for victims of Spaoh shophouse fire

From left: Uggah and Robert handing over personal donations to the Spaoh fire victims.

KUCHING, Feb 7: The state government has set up a relief fund to aid victims of the shophouse fire in Spaoh, Betong, that occurred on Chinese New Year’s eve.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the state is also looking to provide temporary shoplots to resettle the affected families.

The long term planning is to rebuild new shophouses at the same site, he added.

“We have discussed how, in the short term, we are going to resettle them. We have talked about providing temporary shops and we are looking at this possibility.

“In the long run, we have discussed with the victims on their plan to redevelop the area with new shophouses,” Uggah said in a statement today.

The fire incident on Feb 4 had razed eight old wooden shophouses.

Yesterday, the Bukit Saban assemblyman and Betong MP Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat visited the fire site and checked on the welfare of the victims, as well as handing personal donation.

Each family received RM1,000 for their Chinese New Year reunion dinner. The Welfare Department had also delivered necessities like food, cooking utensils, mattresses and blankets to the victims.

Both elected representatives had committed RM40,000 each to the relief fund, which will be managed by the Betong Resident’s Office.

In the evening, Uggah chaired a meeting with the relevant government departments and community leaders on providing assistance to the Spaoh fire victims.

“We will ensure that the fund and all other assistance will reach them,” he said.

Welfare Department personnel handing over assistance to the Spaoh fire victims.

Uggah also commended the voluntary fire fighting squads from Spaoh and Betong, as well as the Betong Fire and Rescue Department, for their prompt action in fighting the blaze.

“They had successfully prevented the fire from spreading to other shops,” he said.

Uggah also called on the authority to carry out a thorough investigation to find out the cause of fire. He also wanted the authority concerned to thoroughly investigate the cause of the fire.

He hoped that reports could be compiled as soon as possible. — DayakDaily