Stories of the poor


This is the real story of a flood victim who survived the Kedah floods in 2022 and told the story. How is climate change connected to flooding? What can you and I do about it?

– Mr Anu’s story

1. See

Observe the facts, know the reality.

2. Judge

Use social analysis and moral values to make judgement about the facts.

3. Act

Plan a realistic and effective strategy to action.

1st Step:


Floods are destroying the homes of thousands of families in our country every year.

Mr Anu is a 45 year old man, living in Alor Setar with his wife and two teenage children. He works at the wet market and stays with his family on a landed property. His dilemma started when developers started building several housing projects in his neighbourhood, which affected the drainage and caused the area to be flood-prone.

In 2022, during the rainy season, there was continuous rain for a whole day which caused heavy flooding and the waters rose quickly. Mr Anu, his family and neighbours were stranded; and the Civil Defence team had to rescue them with boats and transport them to safety in a community hall.

Mr Anu described it as the most anxious moment of his life as he was worried about the safety of his family. He was grateful for the support from his neighbours, who were also going through the same harrowing experience.

After two days, when the flood waters had receded he was allowed to return to his house but was dismayed to find all his furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings destroyed by the flood waters; and the house thickly covered with mud and sludge. He was grateful for friends who helped him and his family to clean the house; and a local church community supplied them with food rations. He and his family have returned to their normal lives since then and hope that they will never experience such a traumatic event again.

Floods can also be caused by climate change, where the Earth’s temperature becomes increasingly warmer. Human activity such as deforestation, building and construction, and the burning of fossil fuels, releases heat-trapping greenhouses gases or carbon emissions into our atmosphere.

According to data gathered by the United Nations, Malaysia’s average surface temperature increased between 0.14 to 0.25 degrees Celsius per decade from 1970 to 2013. Malaysia’s average temperature has been on an upward trajectory since 1964, when it was 24.93°C. By 2020, the average temperature was 26.05°C, about a degree warmer.

Typically, one would expect droughts in the face of rising temperatures. While heat waves and droughts are among the effects of climate change, a rise in temperature also causes more rainfall in localized areas. This is because warmer temperature causes more water to evaporate from the land and oceans and changes the rainfall patterns. It is estimated that the atmosphere holds seven percent more moisture for every 1°C rise. As more moisture is held by the atmosphere, subsequent rainfall is more intense, leading to flooding. Changes in temperature also affect monsoon weather systems, which controls the distribution of rainfall. This means rainfall is less predictable and may come in large bouts, causing floods in one area and withheld in longer periods elsewhere, causing drought.

Modeling by the Meteorological Department shows that Malaysia could experience a temperature rise of 0.7°C to 2.6°C in the next few decades. This could lead to changes in rainfall of 30 percent less in some months and 30 percent more in other periods of the year. According to a report by the Asian Development Bank, modeling using various greenhouse gas concentration scenarios shows an increase in populations exposed to floods in the future. Under the RCP8.5 scenario, an additional 70,000 people would be affected by floods in Malaysia in 2030, with damages rising by RM8.58 billion. RCP8.5 refers to a scenario where carbon emissions continue to rise without intervention, in other words, the worst- case climate change scenario.

As God’s people, we have a duty to protect the Earth by stopping climate change through reducing our carbon emissions.

“…God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

2nd Step:


3rd Step:



Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy. 


O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal life.


Make us worthy Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy.

I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor. It was an order.

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.

You and I, we are Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is  because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. 

Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me. 

Lord, may justice flow like a river

Reaching barren lands and sun scorched deserts

Where people feel forgotten and hopeless

Let your water of life

Comfort them

Where children lie abandoned or abused

Let your water of life

Protect them

Where communities suffer at the hands of prejudice

Let your water of life Shield them

Lord, we ask for a mighty downpour from Heaven

May your sons and daughters hear your voice

May we live as you lead us to live

Go as you bid us to go

Serve as you inspire us to serve

Give as you teach us to give

Until the earth is covered with the glory of God

As the waters cover the sea


All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.

Abba, Father of all, thank you for this beautiful animal, this wonder of intricate life. May your Holy Spirit be upon them. Please come touch their bodies with healing and their minds with peace. Abba, Father of all, from whom all life flows, I entrust this precious one to you. Thank you that they are safe in your care. Come comfort us with your love and enfold us all in your mighty care now. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Give Alms

Visit to Tzu Chi Environmental Protection Education Centre to gain a “hands on” experience about recycling. This experience will help you learn how to set up a recycling project at your own parish.

Organise a beach clean-up activity to create awareness about pollution. Caritas Penang can be contacted if you want to carry out this activity.

Organise a nature walk for your parish. Enjoy and appreciate God’s creation and at the same time contribute to keeping the walking trails clean by picking up trash. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Plant trees from seeds. After three years, the trees can be replanted in barren areas which have been deforested. Contact the Penang State – Creation Justice Commission (CJC) for more information on this activity.

  1. Ask and explore with your priest and parishioners what are the needs.
    • Is there a need to create awareness about the problem of climate change in the parish? Do parishioners know how it affects livelihoods, and that God is giving us the stewardship to care for His Creation?
    • Is there a need for ecological conversion by having a prayer session or formation?
    • Is there a need to have an activity, eg a beach cleanup to create awareness about pollution?
  2. Organise a workshop for your parishioners on the Care for Creation or Climate Change with the Penang State – Creation Justice Commission (CJC).
  3. Conduct a prayer session for ecological conversion with your parish priest and work with Caritas Penang and the Penang State – Creation Justice Commission (CJC).


Call Us If You Want To Work Together

The Catholic church’s mission is to carry out and continue the work of Jesus Christ on earth. Therefore, we seek to work with communities, non-governmental organisations, and local authorities to promote an inclusive and sustainable development for all.

+604-229 2742

What is Caritas

Caritas is the charitable arm of the Roman Catholic Church. It is to spearhead the church’s social mission, to respond to humanitarian crisis, promote integral human development and advocate on the causes of poverty and violence.

Get Involved


Caritas Penang comes under the jurisdiction of The Titular Roman Catholic Bishop of Penang.

© 2022 Caritas – Diocese of Penang. All Right Reserved.