Bushfires: Australia yet to respond to help offer – DPM

Bushfires: Australia yet to respond to help offer – DPM

PUTRAJAYA: Australia has yet to respond to Malaysia’s offer of assistance in dealing with the continent’s worst ever bushfire crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.

She said with the current situation in Australia, the help from Malaysia might no longer be necessary.

“Nowadays it is more of flash floods, thunderstorms and so forth … the fires are getting less and are concentrated at just one area.

“So probably there is no need for us to send our bombardier,” she told reporters in her office at the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry yesterday.

Malaysia had previously offered to deploy the Bombardier CL-415 water bomber, an asset belonging to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), in addition to 65 rescue personnel to Australia.

Earlier the International media reported that heavy rains have lashed several areas in Australia including over bushfire-hit regions such as New South Wales and Queensland, resulting in flash floods in several areas.

At least 30 people have died, about a billion animals have been killed and some 2,500 houses were destroyed in the fires since they began in September.

Wan Azizah, who is also National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) chairman, said the water bomber aircraft was on standby for any mission following the current drought, especially in the northern states of the peninsula.

“We may have to get the Bombardier ready for our own use,” she said.