The revving of a plane engine resonated across the airbase headquarters Friday morning, as a military aircraft returned from delivering emergency relief supplies to Kalay in Sagaing Region.
At 8 a.m., the plane took off from the airport, where Tatmadaw and police personnel continued to busily carry and sort relief supplies.
“Although it is difficult to donate cash for flood victims, I am proud that I can contribute my labour for delivering aid,” police officer Zin Paing Soe said.
The air base headquarters has been a staging point for airlifts to Rakhine State, the Kalay area and Chin State since 1 August, according to Lt-Col Aye Lin.
“Usually, priority is given to Rakhine State but we are transporting relief assistance to Kalay first today and when the plane comes back from Kalay, it will transport aid to Rakhine,” he said.
A steady flow of vehicles ferries relief supplies into the airbase, which has been accepting donations from well-wishers from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
However, Lt-Col Aye Lin said, “We can’t finish our work until 9 o’clock at night because we need to classify the relief items. Then, we have to decide whether the aid should be sent by air or by boat. Sometimes, we have to accept relief assistance even at night.”
The plane, which can carry only 6 tons per flight, continues to make trips back and forth to the disaster hit regions. For places where there are no airfields, the airbase has been deploying helicopters. In addition, the airbase headquarters has had to arrange supplies at a day’s notice based on reports from chief ministers of disaster-hit regions and states. Personnel at the base finish their work very late, but sergeant Naing Lin Soe said they did not feel tired, but proud of working for flood victims.
Khin Maung Htwe Photos: Zaw Min Latt