Brunei sends first batch of relief aid to central Philippines

National 2 minutes, 37 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI mobilised a military aircraft and ship yesterday to deliver the first batch of relief aid for super typhoon Haiyan victims in central Philippines.

Hundreds of bottled water, dried food and other essentials are expected to reach Tacloban in Leyte Province, where hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced after one of the most powerful storms on record tore through the coastal city on November 8, 2013.

Around 10,000 people are feared dead and many buildings across the disaster zones were also destroyed by the supertyphoon.

At the Air Force Base in Rimba yesterday, soldiers loaded numerous boxes, comprising a tonne of medical supplies, onto the Royal Brunei Air Force’s CN-235 up until its scheduled flight departure at 8.30am.

On board the transport aircraft were personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and members of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC).

Among the two NDMC passengers was the Director, Colonel (Rtd) Pg Dato Paduka Hj Rosli Pg Hj Chuchu, who was tasked to hand over the relief aid to local authorities in the Philippines. Also joining the flight were representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office and Information Department.

Meanwhile, the Royal Brunei Navy’s KDB Darussalam embarked at 10.30am from the Naval Base in Muara, carrying the remaining relief aid including copious sacks of rice.

The ship is expected to arrive next Monday with 13 officers, 43 crew members, a doctor and other military personnel as well as two members of the NDMC.

Present to bid farewell were family members alongside top government officials including the Culture, Youth and Sports Minister YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah.

Religious Affairs Minister Yang Berhormat Pg Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abd Rahman, Acting Defence Minister Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong and Acting Home Affairs Minister Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof were also in attendance.

Watching the aircraft and ship depart, the Filipino Ambassador to Brunei expressed his gratitude to the Sultanate for the help extended to victims of supertyphoon Haiyan.

His Excellency Nestor Z Ochoa thanked His Majesty for consenting to the humanitarian relief efforts, which also include a three-month fundraising through the nationwide humanitarian fund.

Subsequent batches of relief aid are scheduled to be flown into the Philippines via the RBAirF CN-235 on November 16, 19 and 20.

The relief aid transported yesterday were contributed by government agencies including the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Health, RBAF and NDMC as well as the nationwide humanitarian fund for victims of super typhoon Haiyan.

Members of the public can continue to donate essential items through appointed drop-off points between 8am and 5pm daily until November 28.

Donations can be handed in at the Mumong Sports Complex Hall in Belait District; Tutong Sports Complex Hall in Tutong District and Pekan Bangar Bumiputera Complex Hall in Temburong.

In Brunei-Muara District, drop-off points are located at the Youth Centre in the capital, the multipurpose hall of the Fire and Rescue Department at the Old Airport and the multipurpose hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah Sports Complex in Berakas.

The Brunei Times