For the second time in less than six months, theSun managed to raise over RM1.1million for the Bosnia Flood Disaster Relief Fund to assist the victims of Cyclone Tamara which hit the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina in May last year.
The floods that followed caused more than 35 casualties, and a quarter of Bosnia-Herzegovina's four million people without clean water. The physical destruction was compared to the carnage caused by the three-year Bosnian war from 1992-1995, as more than 100,000 houses and other buildings, as well as the roads, were destroyed by the floods.
Authorities in Bosnia reported about 2,000 landslides, some of which were on minefields left over from the war. It was estimated that about 120,000 unexploded landmines remained in more than 9,400 carefully marked minefields in the country.
A damage assessment survey was conducted by theSun and Mercy Malaysia in Bosnia, and it was decided that the money raised would be used to purchase and donate much-needed medical equipment for two hospitals in the towns of Doboj and Maglaj, two of the worst affected areas. Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan kickstarted the fund by personally donating RM500,000 at the launch of the fund in May last year. The campaign ran for a period of six weeks, and drew to a close on July 11, 2015 with a total of RM1,128,911 collected.
Donations poured in from various channels throughout Malaysia. Among the organisations that responded were Sports Toto Malaysia Sdn Bhd, KUB-Berjaya Enviro Sdn Bhd, REDtone, and Northport. Singer (M) Sdn Bhd also organised a special weekend promotion, with 50% of the sales channeled towards the fund. On World Humanitarian Day 2014, which is celebrated on August 19, theSun managing editor Freddie Ng handed over a mock cheque for the amount to Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus. The simple ceremony was witnessed by Sun Media Corporation department heads and senior officials of Mercy Malaysia.
Dr Ahmad Faizal expressed his surprise at such a large amount collected, considering that the Bosnian floods did not get much attention from Malaysians due to the distance between the two countries. He added that the initiative not only raised funds for Mercy Malaysia’s work, but also raised the awareness of Malaysians on humanitarian fund-raising. Meanwhile, Ng thanked all the donors, corporations and individuals, for their generous donations once again towards a good cause.