KUALA LUMPUR –The participants of the 2nd National Social Work Conference (PESAN 2) held at the Social Institute of Malaysia (ISM) on 13 and 14 September 2023 were deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic events that occurred in Libya.
It is estimated that around 10,000 Libyans are believed to be missing as a result of the devastating floods that have struck the country, according to officials from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
UUM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dr Mohd Foad Sakdan expressed his shock at the news during the conference. Additionally, UUM denizens were also saddened by information from independent sources confirming that the number of missing Libyans has reached approximately 10,000 as reported in the media.
He said that UUM will obtain information from the Ministry of Higher Education (KPT) and make efforts to assist, which may include collecting donations and other means of support.
Meanwhile, the Dean of the School of Applied Psychology, Social Work and Policy (SAPSP), Assoc. Prof. Dr Md Zawawi Abu Bakar who spoke on behalf of the participants of the seminar, expressed his hope that the citizens of the country would demonstrate patience during this challenging time. He also offered prayers for the swift allocation of aid from all nations around the world to assist in the recovery and restoration efforts.
The director of PESAN2 programme, Assoc. Prof. Dr Rajwani Md Zain, said that the seminar participants were generally taken aback by the tragic event. It was revealed that approximately 25% of the city of Derna in eastern Libya had been devastated by severe floods caused by the bursting of the dam during the previous storm.
According to her, the latest report revealed that over 1,000 bodies have been discovered thus far and that search and rescue operations are ongoing.
“We, as members of the social work group, have a deep understanding of the suffering and hardships faced by those who experience them. We are committed to praying for their recovery and for expedited assistance,” she continued.
As for the Head of the Department of the Arts and Sciences Programme, UUMKL Dr Chan Cheong Chong, he believes that the events in Libya serve as a reminder to Malaysians that such tragedies can occur in any location.
Therefore, it is crucial for active coordination efforts and preparation with organisations that can assist in providing assistance to the country or individuals impacted by such a disaster.
“It is not just about feeling sad, sympathy, or empathy but rather about making a concerted effort to aid in the recovery and alleviate the burden while working towards redeveloping the country,” he continued.
The presenter of the paper titled Profile of Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement among Students Receiving Zakat, Assoc. Prof. Dr Zarina Mat Saad emphasised the importance of promptly mobilising non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to gather funds and distribute them through government-approved organisations or legal representatives in Libya later.
“Certainly, the Libyan people involved are now facing immense suffering from the event and I fervently hope that the people and the country can eventually be rebuilt, even if it requires a significant amount of time,” said the Head of Social Work Development Cluster at ISM, Mdm Faizah Abdullah.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of the PESAN 2 Programme, Dr Teoh Ai Hua, who received information about this tragedy, expressed his condolences to the families affected by this tragedy in Libya. He also expressed hope that efforts to assist and locate those involved in the disaster would also receive support and cooperation from countries worldwide.
“May aid and efforts to restore the country be expedited,” he said again.