KOTA KINABALU: Paralympian Francis Xavier might not have legs but he sure is one tough guy who lets nothing get in his way, not even a flood that destroyed his home.

After the water receded and the wooden house he lives in with his mum in Penampang dried down to caked mud, the 39-year-old, fondly known as Oliver Putut gathered whatever was left using his bare hands, and started cleaning.

Sharing his story on social media, the bachelor and handyman shows his friends and followers how he ‘walks’ using his hands to move around drenched in mud.

“What has happened, has happened and there is no use in crying. We just have to stay strong, persevere and start cleaning,” Xavier said when contacted.

“What to do? It is how it is. I have to start over from zero. I have to postpone all my customers’ orders because my tools, materials and everything are lost,” he said.

He does all sorts of jobs for a living including carpentry, pipe making, and runs a small sundry shop beside his house which is all destroyed as well.

Xavier said it is tough doing the cleanup on his own, and his mother is elderly. There is also a very limited clean water supply to remove the mud, other than his physical constraints.

The cleaning process started a little on Tuesday, and then more on Wednesday when flood waters finally went down completely.

“Today (Thursday, July 4), I am so glad there are many who came to help, including Upko members and Trash Hero volunteers,” he said.

Upko Youth Chief Billy Joe Dominic said party volunteers have been going around flooded areas since day one, led by their president Datuk Ewon Benedick, who is also Penampang MP.

“We found out about Oliver’s plight and came to help him,” he said, adding they have a few other places to go each day and would visit anywhere they were needed.

“We don’t just do gotong-royong but also give food supplies and other needs like mattresses and cleaning utensils among other things,” he said.

There is still much cleaning to be done in Xavier’s house as well as in rebuilding what he lost, but for now, he will do it step by step, one thing at a time.