Relief efforts to help the people of Padang are still actively in progress after the Indonesian province was struck by two major earthquakes recently. AirAsia, as part of its corporate social responsibility program, provided complimentary seats and cargo space to Mercy Malaysia, to fly-in volunteers and aid supplies to the scene of the catastrophe. ?The airline played a major part in enhancing the relief efforts and was an early responder to the call for help, just hours after the tragic earthquake struck.
Six volunteers and 530 kilos of aid supplies from MERCY Malaysia left Kuala Lumpur for Padang today, on flight AK 474 at 5pm. This group of volunteers will join other Mercy Malaysia volunteers who are already on the scene. The first batch of volunteers left for Padang on 1 October 2009 with 120 kilos of aid supplies, followed by two volunteers on 2 October 2009 (Friday) and five volunteers plus 150 kilos of supplies yesterday (Sunday).
AirAsia Group CEO Dato' Sri Tony Fernandes said, "We are glad to participate in the relief efforts and provide the necessary comfort to the people of Padang. As an airline with the largest presence in ASEAN, it is our obligation to assist our neighbours who are in dire need of help.
"We applaud MERCY Malaysia for their dedication and determination in providing relief and care to the people of Padang. We are proud to work together with MERCY Malaysia in this noble endeavor, and we will continue to provide assistance as long as the need arises," said Fernandes. ??
For MERCY Malaysia, AirAsia's contribution and support for MERCY Malaysia's relief mission in Padang, Indonesia, signifies the airline's commitment to provide relief assistance to the earthquake victims.
"We are grateful for AirAsia's support which is valuable to us to maintain our effort in providing sustainable humanitarian relief especially to the quake affected victims in Indonesia," said MERCY Malaysia President Dr. Ahmad Faizal Perdaus.
"We truly hope that other organisations can step up to emulate this effort by AirAsia so that we can continue to provide assistance to the affected communities," he also said.
In Indonesia yesterday, AirAsia flew 142 guests from Jakarta-Padang and 122 guests from Padang- Jakarta. The majority of guests onboard both flights were families of the earthquake victims. Together on the flight were Indonesian-based relief agencies, Indonesian journalists and airport authority officers from Jakarta who facilitated the landing of AirAsia's aircraft at Minangkabau Airport, Padang. Also flown in was 1.5 tonnes of aid supplies, comprised of assorted food and clothing items.
Indonesia AirAsia CEO Dharmadi said, "Families of victims on both flights appreciated our initiative. We were touched by their stories and could not imagine the hardship that they are going through. We will definitely do our best to help the people of Padang.
"We grieved as we learned the number of casualties caused by the tragic earthquake. With all the help coming in to Padang and its surroundings from local and international relief agencies, we are confident that the province will be able to be re-established soon," added Dharmadi.
This is not the first time that AirAsia has come to the aid of people and nations in the region at times of tragedy. AirAsia was in the forefront of relief efforts in the wake of the tsunami that struck the region in 2004, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2008) and the earthquake which struck Sichuan in China (2008). AirAsia has also supported the recovery of Bali, Indonesia, after the terrorist bombings in 2005, by giving away 12,000 free seats on its flights.The earthquake occurred in West Sumatera, Indonesia, on 30th September, 2009 at 17:16:10 Indonesian time. The earthquake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale and struck at sea, 50 km from Padang, the capital city of West Sumatera, Indonesia. Even while relief and rescue efforts were underway, another earthquake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, struck the same area the following day --? Oct. 1, 2009.? The number of casualties is still unknown, with the death toll rising by the hour.