PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is sending RM3.2mil (US$1mil) to help with relief efforts after parts of the Philippines were devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan, said Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin.
He said the cash aid was approved by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and related agencies, including the National Security Council.
Apart from the cash aid, Malaysia is also donating essential items such as food and medicines worth RM1mil through the 1Malaysia Putera Club (KP1M), he told a news conference after seeing a relief airlift left for the Philippines at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) airbase, Subang here.
On the delay in despatching the aid, he said RMAF aircraft were not granted permission to land in the devastated areas earlier.
He said 20 Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) members would also be sent to get a firsthand look at the disaster.
KP1M president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said the KP1M 38-member delegation comprising volunteers, medics and journalists would work alongside RMAF personnel in the typhoon-ravaged areas dubbed ground zero.
"The relief aid airlifted today could cater for about 7,000 families for a month while another consignment to be flown tomorrow could help 10,000 more families.
"I hope we will be able to help between 20,000 and 25,000 families during this mission. A temporary medical tent will be pitched in the disaster to dish out medicines," he added.
A RMAF Charlie C130 aircraft carrying 14 tons of food, medicines, clothing, tents and infant nutrition products left the RMAF airbase for Tacloban, the Philippines at 8.36am while another aircraft flying relief team members departed at 9am.
Twenty RMAF personnel were involved in the five-day operations. - Bernama