Sarawak govt to provide food assistance to Sibu households affected by MCO

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will provide food assistance to households in the Sibu division affected by the two-week movement control order which came into effect on Jan 16.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said initial information from the Sibu Resident's Office indicated that there were about 73,000 households within the affected districts of Sibu, Selangau and Kanowit.

"Funds will be channelled to the Sibu divisional disaster management committee, supported by the district disaster management committees which will handle the food distribution.

"They will work in collaboration with the relevant agencies, local councils, community leaders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)," he told reporters after chairing a food chain supply committee meeting at Wisma Sumber Alam here on Monday (Jan 18).

The MCO from Jan 16 to Jan 29 was imposed in Sibu following a spike in Covid-19 cases, largely from the Pasai cluster which stemmed from a funeral at a longhouse in Pasai Siong in Sibu from Dec 29 to 31.

The one-off food assistance is worth about RM70 per household and will include rice, sugar, flour, cooking oil, biscuits, instant noodles, canned food and tea or coffee.

Awang Tengah said that distribution is expected to start on Wednesday (Jan 20).

"The delivery will have to be planned properly as it involves some rural areas, so the Sibu divisional disaster management committee will look into the logistics.

"We have asked them to identify areas where we need helicopters or river transport to deliver the food items," he said, adding that the delivery must comply with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP).

Awang Tengah also said the total cost of the food assistance would be finalised based on the number of recipients.

He said the divisional and district disaster management committees were working together with community leaders and NGOs to identify all affected households.

"What is important is to ensure that during the MCO period, the food assistance will reach those who need it. We want to assist all and we don't want anyone to be left out," he said.

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