Be patient, food aid distribution to reach over 420,000 households ongoing amidst logistical challenges

Awang Tengah addressing a press conference on food aid distribution in Sarawak.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 8: The Sarawak government has urged people who are still waiting to receive food aid to be patient as distribution is ongoing to reach over 420,000 households across the State amidst logistical challenges.

As of yesterday (June 7), Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan reported that a total of 49,811 or 10.5 per cent of 472,923 heads of household in 12 divisions in Sarawak impacted by the Movement Control Order (MCO) and other Covid-19 restrictions have received food assistance.

“The targeted date of completion for the food assistance distribution is June 11.

“As such, we seek the understanding of all those who are still waiting to receive this assistance, as the distribution logistics in Sarawak are challenging with different areas requiring different or a combination modes of transports of air, land and sea,” he told a press conference at Darul Ehsan Mosque in Kampung Haji Baki here today.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was there to launch the food assistance distribution that comes under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 6.0 for households affected by MCO and other Covid-19 restrictions including the qEnhanced MCO (EMCO) and quarantine order.

For eligible recipients including disabled people (OKU) who have not been listed under the programme, Awang Tengah, who leads the State food aid committee, urged them to provide their information to the Divisional Disaster Management Committee (DDMC).

“Allocations have been given directly to DDMC. The committees are also in charge of verification of eligible recipients together with Service Centres, community leaders and other relevant agencies and NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

“As for those in EMCO areas, and under home quarantine, distributions are carried out by the Welfare Department,” he explained.

The distribution task, he added, are collaborated and coordinated by DDMC in order to avoid overlapping while ensuring timely delivery of food aid to affected areas and households in accordance with standard operating procedures (SOP).

Meanwhile, a total of RM35.5 has been allocated under BKSS 6.0 to purchase and deliver food assistance to the people, especially those under the lower income B40 category, in an effort to relieve some of their burden during these trying times.

Each state constituency has been allocated a minimum of RM250,000 allocation for this purpose while for areas with more households, they will be allocated according to the number of targeted households.

The Sarawak government has approved a total of RM1.4 billion under BKSS 6.0 to assist the people including cash handouts as well as through discount and incentive initiatives.

Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, Assistant Minister of Transport Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang and Tasik Biru assemblyman Dato Henry Harry Jinep were also present at the event. — DayakDaily