Deployment of firefighters to Australia put on hold

Australia’s bushfires have killed 24 people, destroyed nearly 2,000 homes and killed millions of animals. (AP pic)

IPOH: The deployment of 40 Malaysian firefighters to Australia on Wednesday to help put out the raging bushfires there has been put on hold until the actual need has been identified, housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said today.

“If we can identify the Australian need, we will send the team,” she told reporters after visiting the Pengkalan Hulu fire station.

Zuraida had said at an earlier press conference in Kuala Sepetang, Taiping, that the 40 fire personnel and with 20 other individuals from government agencies would leave for New South Wales on Wednesday.

Media reports said the bushfires, which ravaged five million hectares of land in three Australian states, have killed 24 people, destroyed nearly 2,000 homes and killed millions of animals.

On a separate matter, Zuraida said the RM2 million upgrading work at the Kuala Sepetang jetty will be ready by the end of this year. The jetty will have better toilet facilities and a more organised parking lot.

“In addition, there are plans for new attractions such as a floating market selling food and river-based products along the riverbank,” she said after visiting the jetty.