Airlines struggle to send aid to Malaysia flood victims

Airlines struggle to send aid to Malaysia flood victims
Ignatius Ong, chief executive officer (CEO) of Firefly, a MAS-owned airline.

PETALING JAYA - Airline and cargo operators are breaking their backs to clear the overwhelming amount of aid pouring in from Malaysians.

Firefly chief executive officer Ignatius Ong said to date, the airline had already delivered close to 100,000kg of mostly food, blankets and medication to flood-stricken areas in Kota Baru and Kuala Terengganu.

"The response has been overwhelming. This has become our biggest challenge as our daily cargo capacity has been exceeded," he said when contacted.

Ong said they planned to continue accepting donations tentatively until Jan 9, depending on the flood conditions in the two states.

Firefly has been delivering aid to victims as part of the The Star-MRCS-Firefly Relief Fund to contribute much-needed essential items for the flood victims at affected areas.

PKT Logistics has already delivered about 30,000kg of supplies from collection points to Firefly and to MasKargo during the temporary closure of the Firefly donation centre in Subang between Jan 1 and Jan 3 when Firefly wanted to clear the backlog of items then.

PKT Logistics Group's group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio said his company still had about 50,000kg of supplies to send out.

"The donations have been overwhelming but now I think we need to look at how we can help them rebuild.

"As with any disaster, after relief efforts comes rebuilding efforts. A lot of money and time will be required for this," he said.

MasKargo acting CEO Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi said the airline still had 45,000kg of donated items in their warehouse.

"The biggest challenge now is that we have more supplies than expected.

"We are delivering the items using our five daily passenger flights to Kota Baru, so it really depends on how much cargo space we have.

"On good days we can send about 12,000kg of aid and on bad days we can send only about 5kg," he said.

To date, he said, they had sent out about 60,000kg of aid, mostly comprising of dry food and mineral water.

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