Longboats send much-needed food aid to Sibu rural folk

Dispatchers using chartered longboats to send food aid to recipients in Ulu Machan, Kanowit.

While recipients of food aid under the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 3.0 programme in Sibu may not have difficulty going to the collection centre, it is tough for rural folk in Kanowit.

There are no roads connecting Ulu Poi and Ulu Machan in Kanowit. The only means of communication is by longboat which can take up to three hours to reach Kanowit town.

Machan assemblyman Allan Sidi Gramong said they had to hire five longboats each to Ulu Poi and Ulu Machan to send the food aid to the recipients.

The state government has allocated RM250,000 for each of the 82 constituencies. The food aid is for those affected by the implementation of the current movement control order.

Each food basket comprising cooking oil, flour, instant noodles, canned sardine, biscuits, tea and rice costs RM70.

“There are more than 4,800 recipients in my constituency.

“Many of them are residing in Ulu Poi and Ulu Machan. We have so far distributed the food aid to half of them since June 7,” he said.

They expect to complete the task by today.

To reach the recipients in these two remote areas, it takes the dispatchers between two-and-a-half hours to three hours, depending on the weather and tide.

“Good weather and high tide in the last few days made our job easier and faster as it takes less time to reach the longhouses in these two places,” he said.

As each longboat can carry only 20 food baskets, they have to make more trips.

A larger longboat, he said, was not suitable due to the size of the stream.

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