BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – A total of $533,189 has been raised for the Sulawesi Humanitarian Disaster Relief Fund, which was established by the Brunei government in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that claimed thousands of lives in September last year.

The fund was launched last October, with the public contributing donations via SMS and donation boxes, as well as private sector companies making large contributions.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the contributions will be used to finance the construction of six temporary shelters for displaced people in Sulawesi, with each shelter able to support 12 families or 60 people.

The six shelters will cost about USD$198,000, with construction managed by the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management under their ASEAN Resilient Village program.

Any leftover funds will be used either for the construction of new mosques or other necessary infrastructure.

MCYS Permanent Secretary Datin Paduka Dr Hjh Norlila (2L), Minister of Religious Affairs YB Pehin Dato Hj Awang (3L) and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports YB Dato Aminuddin (4L) at the handover for donations to the Sulawesi disaster relief fund. Photo: Wardi Wasil/The Scoop

Wednesday saw the handing over of donations from various institutions in Brunei, including the country’s two main telco providers, Progresif Cellular and DST Communications.

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More than 2,000 people were killed when a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami – which also resulted in a land liquefaction and landslides – devastated Sulawesi in September of last year.

According to Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management, the disaster damaged more than 60,000 houses and displaced more than 170,000 people.

To date, there are still at least 1,373 individuals missing.