Needy folk get packs to fight haze, dengue

MORE than 600 needy residents in Pasir Ris received a WeCare package yesterday, designed to prepare them for this year's haze and dengue season which usually occurs from June to September.

The packages contain items like masks, eyedrops and dengue spray plus non-perishable food items like canned sardines, baked beans and instant noodles. They are being given out by People's Association volunteers in a nationwide campaign launched last month by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

So far, more than 12,000 households have received the packages, which can last them for at least three days. About 26,000 needy households are to receive them by July 20.

Retiree Ong Lye Huat, 72, who lives in a rental flat at Block 476A, Pasir Ris Drive 6, with his wife, was particularly grateful for the eye drops. "My eyes were irritated by the haze last year," he said.

His neighbour, 69-year-old retiree Lee Puay Liang, said the package means she does not need to step out of the house if the haze gets too bad. She can then cook for herself and her husband at home.

Deputy Prime Minister and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Teo Chee Hean helped to distribute the packages to 15 needy families yesterday.

Mr Teo and fellow MPs Zainal Sapari, Janil Puthucheary and Gan Thiam Poh led 80 grassroots volunteers in packing the items at Pasir Ris Elias Community Club.

"This was something we had to do on the fly last year," said Mr Teo. "We want to be prepared ahead of time this year."

WeCare packages were also distributed in other areas, including Toa Payoh, Zhenghua and Hougang yesterday. This campaign was launched as a response to last year's haze crisis in Singapore.