What did it take to transport one million N95 masks?
SAF delivers 1m N95 masks across the island
|Six hours. That was all the time needed to transport one million N95 masks to 88 locations across Singapore with military precision. As the haze in Singapore continues to linger, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has joined in efforts to deal with the situation.
The mission, executed on 22 Jun, involved close to 200 servicemen and saw the mobilisation of 44 Multi-Role Utility Vehicles and three 5-Tonner trucks. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, who also leads the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee, had announced a day earlier that the masks will be distributed for free through the constituency offices.
Dr Ng, who visited the Toa Payoh Central Community Club, one of the delivery locations, said: “This is a very good example of partnership so that we can help those who are vulnerable, and in this instance, those from poorer households as well as people who need the masks but can’t get them.”
Speaking at the People’s Association (PA) Headquarters, where a reserve stock of masks was delivered, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong shared similar sentiments: “I’m particularly happy to see our SAF personnel working very closely with our community leaders to help in this exercise of distributing the masks to needy families.”
He was also very heartened to witness the strong motivation of the SAF soldiers: “They know they are doing something very meaningful… as they participate (to help) in this crisis.”
One of the soldiers, 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Dennis Tay, said: “I feel that it’s very meaningful and it’s quite enriching. Meaningful, in a sense that… you feel that you’re contributing to society and giving something back with whatever effort you put in.
The military operation started early in the morning at Kranji Camp III where the fleet of vehicles was first gathered. From there, they proceeded to the Army Logistics Base where the masks were loaded.
On whether there were any difficulties faced in such a large mobilisation exercise, Commander of Combat Service Support Command Colonel (COL) Tan Peng Kuan said: “Due to our close collaboration with the Army Logistics Base and PA, we were able to understand their requirements; we were able to assess the situation effectively and act appropriately, so we didn’t face any major issues.”
Everyone was busy since Saturday when the SAF was mobilised to deliver over 1500000 (1.5million) N95 masks. The delivery stretched till as late as 2am on Sunday morning. Then Grassroots and volunteers together with their grassroots advisors/MPs distributed the masks to 200000 low-income households on Sunday morning.