Indonesian nationals receive food packages

Azlan Othman

The Indonesian Embassy in Brunei Darussalam recently donated basic food aid to Indonesian citizens, including Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI), who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in Brunei Darussalam.

Some 212 Indonesians received rice, sugar, instant noodles, soy sauce, cooking oil, coffee, powdered milk and canned sardines.

The donations was part of the 700 care packages being distributed at the community’s request.

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko presented the donation to representative of the West Sumatran community in Brunei Demiyarti.

“The donation is a presentation of Indonesia for its nationals in Brunei. We will also deliver basic food aid to approximately 300 Indonesians in Kuala Belait, Tutong and Temburong districts.

“We also distributed masks and hand washing liquid soaps to vulnerable community groups as an effort to prevent transmission of COVID-19,” Dr Sujatmiko said.

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko presents the donations. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

The ambassador said after the temporary ban of flights to Indonesia from March 23, the Indonesian Embassy in cooperation with Royal Brunei Airlines organised a special flight for the repatriation of Indonesian citizens to Jakarta on May 1.

Similar flights will also be scheduled to Jakarta and Surabaya on May 15 and 17.

Tinparwati, one of the recipients expressed her appreciation to the embassy for the package. “I thank the Indonesian Embassy for the aid.

“A number of our community members have been affected by COVID-19 and had to be laid off and have no means to buy food, so this aid is highly valuable,” said Tinparwati who worked as a shopkeeper in Bandar Seri Begawan.

COVID-19 has had an adverse economic impact on Indonesians in Brunei, especially migrant workers in the restaurant, catering and hospitality sectors.

The Indonesian Embassy noted that many workers were affected by salary cuts, temporary salary suspension, and termination of employments. Since the outbreak of the first COVID-19 case in Brunei Darussalam on March 9, the Indonesian Embassy has taken various prevention and mitigation measures for Indonesians in the Sultanate.

The steps include disseminating information and appeals through social media, providing consular services, providing various forms of assistance, monitoring the conditions of Indonesian citizens through online dialogue with various existing communities, coordinating with Brunei authorities to monitor Indonesians under treatment for COVID-19, and conducting efforts to repatriate Indonesian citizens back to the homeland.