RMAF pilots battle the odds to deliver food aid to Sarawak interior

Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

DESPITE a battle against bad weather and mountainous terrain, urgent food relief has reached about 2,000 native households in remote settlements in northern Sarawak with the help of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

RMAF helicopters sent in the urgent food supplies to remote settlements deep in the Mulu and Telang Usan state constituencies over the past 24 hours.

According to reports in The Star, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau praised RMAF pilots and volunteers for their efficiency and dedication.

“They not only have to deal with preparing and loading tonnes of food packs, but are also facing bad weather.

“Dense clouds are hampering delivery to certain very mountainous areas. Despite these challenges, food relief will be successfully delivered to Mulu, Long Luyang, Long Batan, Long Aya, Apon Gau and several other settlements by Wednesday,” Ngau said.

The first food-aid deployment arranged by the Welfare Ministry took off from Miri for those affected by the movement control order (MCO) since March 18.

The helicopters fly daily from Miri Airport to remote settlements to deliver urgent food supplies to more than 4,000 families cut off from the outside world due to the MCO.

There are six state constituencies where helicopters will have to be used to send in these food-aid.

They are Telang Usan, Mulu, Batu Danau (all three in northern Sarawak), Murum, Meluan (both in central Sarawak) and Batang Ai (southern Sarawak).

The helicopters will fly in with the supplies and these food aid missions will take about five days to complete.

The food aid for all 82 state constituencies in Sarawak has been arranged and is ready for delivery to the nearly 450,000 families needing urgent food aid.

The urgent food aid is being arranged as many poor Sarawakians are running out of food and water after the MCO started on March 18.

The MCO is a nationwide effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.

In Sarawak, Covid-19 has killed 12 people already and infected about 200 throughout the state.

Sarawak is among the top three states in Malaysia with the most Covid-19 infections and fatalities.