M’sia’s first humanitarian aid mission to Syria

SUBANG: Malaysia’s first humanitarian aid delivery mission to Syria which was hit by an earthquake earlier this month, took off tonight aboard an A400 transport aircraft belonging to the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

A special flight involving 51 crew and other representatives from various ministries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) took off at about 10.15 pm from the Subang RMAF Air Base yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said 42 tonnes of humanitarian aid items collected from Malaysians since Feb 15 were brought on board the plane.

“The items include ready-to-eat food, baby items, medical supplies, generators, clothes and blankets, personal protective equipment, tents, carpets and indoor separators.

“The flight time to Syria will be about 17 hours and 30 minutes, passing through the airspace of several countries and involving two technical stops, and is expected to land at Damascus International Airport tomorrow afternoon,“ according to the statement.

The statement also thanked all Malaysians who responded to the call to lend aid to the earthquake victims in Syria.

It said that the close cooperation among Government ministries and agencies, the security forces as well as NGOs since Feb 15 ensured the smooth running of the collection and delivery process.

“Among the NGOs that have also made this mission a success are the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, MERCY Malaysia, BeVital Ihsan Johor, RED A Humanitarian, Malaysia For Syria, WISMA PUTRA Global Peace Mission, MAHAR, MCRD, Shine Catholic Church, Yemeni School Foundation and Syrian People Malaysia,“ read statement.

Meanwhile, a journalist from the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), Siti Zanariah Nor Zin, also joined the aid mission team to provide coverage from Syria.

Siti Zanariah said this was not the first time she had covered a natural disaster situation abroad but was nonetheless excited about the mission.

“I hope that the items being brought from here to Syria can be distributed well to the affected victims and hopefully this aid can ease the burden they are facing,“ she said before leaving tonight.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Feb 6 has claimed thousands of lives. – Bernama