Malaysia offers to help fight Australia bushfires

Malaysia has offered to help Australia combat its deadly bushfires, which have killed at least 24 people and a billion animals.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the assistance includes deploying the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) personnel and assets. These will help Australian firefighters to put out the devastating bushfires and to support rescue operations in Australia.

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the massive bushfires that have caused the loss of lives and extensive damage in Australia.

“On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the victims, their families, and all those affected. Our prayers are with the people of Australia during this difficult period,” she said in a statement issued by the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.

The statement was posted on her Twitter account and shared by Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Andrew Goledzinowski, via the commissioner’s official twitter handle @AusHCMalaysia.

Goledzinowski also shared a Twitter posting by Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, who had echoed the statement by Dr. Wan Azizah.

“(I am) deeply saddened to hear of the continued bushfires ravaging across several states on the east coast of Australia.

“Malaysia stands ready to extend assistance in support of efforts to overcome this disaster,” said Saifuddin via his Twitter handle @saifuddinabd.

Saifuddin’s Twitter posting was accompanied by a picture of Australian firefighters battling it out to control the bushfires, which reportedly has escalated in the southeastern part of the country.

According to media reports, the bushfires have killed 24 people, destroyed almost 2,000 homes, ravaged three Australian states, and burned about five million hectares of land.

On Saturday (Jan 4), Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the largest military call-up in the country’s recent history. He mobilized up to 3,000 reservists to aid exhausted volunteer firefighters.

WWF-Australia said a billion animals would have died from the infernos that have swept across eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales (NSW) states.

Goledzinowski on Saturday took to Twitter and praised Malaysians for their empathy and compassion towards the situation besieging his home country.

“Malaysians have a big heart. Just today, one minister (had described) Australia is like a second home to many of us.

“Another minister (had said that he or she) ‘has spoken to JAWI (Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department) and asked the mosques to do special prayers’

“A businessman (had offered): ‘How can we help?’ When you need a friend… turn to a Malaysian,” he said.


A kangaroo rushes past a burning house in Conjola, Australia. Picture credit: The Telegraph