A chance to start again in Malaysia

Ismail Mustafa’s story

Running away from the floods


When monsoon floodwaters covered vast swathes of the Malaysian peninsula, it forced Ismail Mustafa, his elderly wife and their seven-year-old grandson to run for higher ground.

The water rose so rapidly – almost an inch every five minutes – that even on high ground they were soon surrounded on all sides. The family became stranded on a tiny island that was shrinking before their eyes.

Fortunately, they were rescued and taken to safety by a neighbour who had a boat. The family then spent days living in an old railroad station until the waters receded.

When the family were finally able to return to their village, they faced a terrible shock.

Amidst the mud and debris strewn around the village, they couldn’t believe what they saw. Another house had been swept away from its foundations and had landed right on top of the Mustafa family home.

2 destroyed homes, one on top of the other

Entering their dilapidated house now meant taking their lives into their own hands. It was a risk they couldn’t – and shouldn’t – take.

Their home, and all of their belongings, were now lost to them. Ismail Mustafa said:

The box means so much because we are too scared to try and enter the house to retrieve our belongings.

Now we have a place to live and the things to make our life better. Thank you ShelterBox.

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The road to recovery


Thanks to donations from amazing people like you, we were able to support the Mustafa family.

Our response team provided them with a ShelterBox containing essential items such as blankets, solar lights and water filters, and put up a family-sized tent near their old home.

This meant that the family could stay in their close-knit community and start to rebuild again, rather than returning to the old railway station.

With the help of friends and family, they will be able to dismantle the dangerous building and start to clear the ground for a new home.

Your support means that we can reach people like Ismail and his family to start the process of recovery after disaster strikes.

Natural disasters explained


Natural disasters like floods affect thousands of thousands of people each year, all around the world.

They can cause, amongst others, deaths, injuries, homelessness, loss or damage to infrastructure and massive population movements.

But why and how exactly do they form? How often and where do they happen? What are the devastating and often lingering effects of disasters like tsunamis, floods, and volcanic eruptions?

Explore our Natural Disasters Explained series to find out the answers to these questions and many more.

Explore more

Woman stands in floodwater outside her home in Paraguay
A woman stands in floodwater outside her home in Paraguay, 2014.

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