This is the battle plan

This is the battle plan

SINGAPORE - The poor will not be left without protection against the haze.

One million N95 masks will be given free to 200,000 lower-income households.

Announcing this, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the masks will be distributed in all constituencies through grassroots organisations.

Dr Ng, who chairs the newly convened Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee (HIMC), said: "We will utilise SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) to help get the masks from the warehouses to the grassroots organisations."

He said the masks will reach the organisations on Sunday and would take a few days to distribute.

"Those with pre-existing diseases and have difficulty getting masks can approach these grassroots organisations."

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Dr Ng said he was doing this "as the Minister for Defence because I recognised the sudden disruption that is caused by the demand".

He said that panic buying was creating an artificial shortage.

"We are dealing with this decisively to push more masks to retail outlets... For a start, NTUC FairPrice will get the masks early next week," said Dr Ng.

FairPrice will cap the price of the masks and limit the number that each person can buy.

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