SINGAPORE, 31 December 2004 - Donations and volunteeers continued to pour into SPH News Centre today even as six container loads of relief items began heading for Aceh and Male, two of the worst-hit countries by the tsunami devastation.
Despite the heavy downpour and yesterday being New Year’s Eve, a steady flow of donors and relief items kept arriving at SPH’s headquarters in Toa Payoh North. The supplies were mainly food items, such as biscuits, noodles, bottled water, canned drinks, medical supplies, milk powder and canned food.
But some continued to bring clothings and blankets although SPH has urged the public not to give these items anymore on advice from the relief agencies, which have asked for cash assistance as the most practical form of contribution.
Hundreds of Singaporeans, young and old from all walks of life, as well as companies donated generously to the "Tidal Waves Asia" fund, which SPH is collectihg on behalf of the Singapore Red Cross Society towards aid for the tsunami victims.
SPH received a total of 721 cheques amounting to $566,367, and another $287,594 in cash donation, bringing the total collection for the day to $853,961. This did not include the money which went into the Singapore Red Cross Society cash tins and some foreign currencies.
The biggest cash donation came from two Chinese men, who handed over $200,000 in $1,000 notes. They declined to be named and merely said the money was a pool collection from among a dozen friends. "We just want to help," said one of them.
The second highest donation was $100,000 from United Fiber System Ltd, which its company’s Group General Manager Leong Siew Why said is for Indonesian tsunami victims. His company is building a pulp mill in South Kalimantan.
SPH collected a total of $594,387 on Thursday, the first day of its public tsunami relief effort.
Besides the generous donations, hundreds of people also turned up to volunteer their help to unload and pack the donated items. From students, housewives, retirees to professionals, they all worked frantically through the day, sorting out the piles of clothings, food and medical supplies and packing them into cartons.
Leading the brigade of volunteers are 65 soldiers from the SAF Army Logistics Unit, who helped load up tonnes of relief items onto the container trucks, even in the driving rain. The SAF will continue to send soldiers to help in the relief effort.
Working closely with SPH is DHL, which is providing logistical support to deliver the donated items to affected areas. Over Thursday and Friday (Dec 30 and 31), nine containers from DHL Danzas Air and Ocean picked up thousands of cartons from News Centre. They are headed for Male in Maldives, Aceh in Indonesia and Colombo in Sri Lanka. DHL has agreed to continue to provide logistical support over the New Year weekend and until 7 January when the SPH relief operations end.
"We deeply appreciate the logistic and freight support provided by DHL. Its swift response to our initiative has helped speed up the delivery and transport of the thousands of relief items donated by the public. SPH would like to express its gratitude to DHL for playing a pivotal role in our relief operations," said Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH.
Mr Chan, who also toured the SPH relief collection centre, said he was moved by the spontaneous outpouring of help from ordinary Singaporeans. "They are doing a truly wonderful job, working tirelessly and uncomplainingly so that the relief supplies can be sent as quickly as possible to the tsunami stricken countries. We also want to thank the
public for all your generous donations," he added.
News Centre is open for collection daily from 9 am to 6 pm until next Friday (7 Jan).
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Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet and radio. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and 63 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy some 300 million pageviews a month. SPH also operates two UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English,
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