Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) disbursed 332 thousand masks for the public in Ambon city on Wednesday as part of activities commemorating the Disaster Risk Mitigation Month.

The mask distribution was carried out under the 'Mask Car Movement for the Community', which was launched by BNPB Head Ganip Warsito along with Maluku Governor Murad Ismail.

Initiated by the BNPB, the 'Mask Car Movement for the Community' program aims to strengthen mitigation attempts as well as to educate the public on the importance of the health protocols, especially wearing masks, to curb COVID-19 transmission.

BNPB Head Warsito likened masks with umbrellas, saying that although umbrellas cannot stop the rain, they can still protect people from rainwater.

"It is (a) similar to (case with) mask. It (A mask) can prevent us from being exposed to COVID-19,” he explained.

Ten cars were deployed by the national agency to support the program in places where people might gather, especially in the four sub-districts of Ambon city -- Nusaniwe, Sirimau, Baguala, and Teluk Ambon, he informed.

Furthermore, additional mask assistance will be disbursed in stages till the total masks distributed reach 500 thousand, Warsito said.

Related news: BNPB distributed over two million masks before Papua PON concludes

In implementing the program, the national agency also involved the Maluku Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the Maluku Provincial Social Affairs Office, as well as volunteers from various organizations, he informed.

Meanwhile, Maluku Governor Ismail lauded the movement, saying health protocols need to be applied consistently by the entire community.

On Wednesday, the BNPB also handed a rescue car unit to the Maluku Disaster Mitigation Agency.

As per official data, the number of COVID-19 cases in the province reached 14,558 while recoveries stood at 14,257 as of Monday.

The 'Mask Car Movement' is expected to maintain the efficient handling of COVID-19 in Maluku province, especially in Ambon city, Warsito said.

The program has been carried out by BNPB in several other cities, such as Jakarta, Makassar, Manado, and Bali.

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Translator: Jimmy Ayal, Uyu Liman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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