JAKARTA - Two Republic of Singapore Air Force aircraft were deployed to Indonesia on Tuesday (Oct 2) to deliver humanitarian aid and help evacuate earthquake victims in Central Sulawesi.
Singapore had offered humanitarian aid and to assist with relief efforts in areas affected by Friday's 7.4-magnitude quake and tsunami shortly after the disaster had occurred.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said both C-130 aircraft will remain in Sulawesi to transport survivors to other cities of Indonesia, as requested by the Indonesian military.
"If needed, the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) will do more to help our brothers and sisters in Indonesia through this natural disaster," added Dr Ng in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.
Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mr Wiranto, on Monday said that air transport - particularly the C-130 - was the most pressing need for relief efforts.
The plane is now one of the few able to operate from the airport in Palu, the provincial capital, because about 200 metres of its runway has been ruined by the quake.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) last Saturday deployed two officers to Sulawesi as part of an Asean Emergency Response and Assessment Team.
The SCDF is also prepared to send a separate team of officers to help with search and rescue operations as well as disaster relief efforts, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Tuesday.
The ministry added that the Singapore government will also be contributing US$100,000 (S$137,000) as seed money to kick-start a fundraising appeal launched by the Singapore Red Cross (SRC).
"The Singapore Government will work closely with the Indonesian government in the delivery of our humanitarian assistance, and will be guided by the needs and priorities outlined by the Indonesian government," added the ministry.
Donations for the Sulawesi quake victims have been pouring in.
The SRC said it has raised about $80,000 from its online appeal - with close to $10,000 collected within five hours of the launch on Monday. Walk-in donors and cheques will add to that amount.
"Singaporeans are generally very giving when it comes to communities affected by disasters," said SRC secretary-general and chief executive Benjamin William.
Indonesia has also received offers of assistance from a total of 26 countries and two international organisations so far, the country's national disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
He added that besides air transport, water treatment equipment, tents, power generators, field hospitals, and fogging to avert diseases were the other urgent needs.
He also said two Singaporeans were recently evacuated from Palu.
Mr Ng Kok Choong, who was there to take part in a paragliding competition, had returned home on Sunday, while the second Singaporean was evacuated to Makassar Tuesday.