RSAF delivers humanitarian aid for GazaSingapore has deployed an RSAF aircraft to deliver humanitarian aid in support of relief efforts in Gaza.
//Story by Sherlyn Quek / Photos by PIONEER photographers & courtesy of the RSAF
In the early hours of 30 Nov, a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft took off from Changi Air Base (East) to Egypt, carrying life-saving supplies for civilians in Gaza.
These supplies include medical supplies; pharmaceuticals; blankets; sanitation items; water filters and food from the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Singapore Red Cross, Mercy Relief and Relief Singapore.
This latest effort follows after an initial seed funding of $300,000 from the Singapore Government to the Singapore Red Cross in support of relief efforts in Gaza.
The SAF's Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination (RHCC) had led efforts to coordinate and consolidate aid from participating agencies, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) had worked with the Egyptian Red Crescent to determine the supplies most needed by civilians in Gaza.
There to send off the RSAF crew at Changi Air Base (East) were Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad.
The Egyptian Ambassador-designate to Singapore Ahmed Mostafa Abdelaal Mohamed; Singapore's Representative to the Palestinian Authority Hawazi Daipi; and representatives from participating NGOs were also present.
Speaking to media, Mr Balakrishnan noted that Singaporeans were "deeply concerned for the civilians in Gaza who are facing a severe humanitarian crisis due to the war… (and that) the SAF is launching this special flight to deliver urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies".
Thanking the RSAF servicemen and women for their support in this mission, Mr Zaqy added: "We are here to provide assistance through the RHCC and the RSAF to provide support to deliver the humanitarian aid package from here to Egypt, working together with partners such as MFA, MOH and our NGOs… This is a testament of our strong linkages and our close collaboration between the NGOs and the Singapore Government.
"From there we will hand it over to the Egyptian Red Crescent who will deliver it to those in need in Gaza."
Noting that the "situation on the ground (in Gaza) is complex", Ms Rebekah Lim, the Singapore Red Cross’ Head of Global Engagement, said: "It is only through the strong collaboration with the authorities and our humanitarian partners like the Egyptian Red Crescent, that we are able to channel more humanitarian assistance to those in need within Gaza."
In total, Singaporeans have contributed more than $7 million in cash and donations in support of relief efforts in Gaza.