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MH370 SEARCH: M'sia Airlines to offer second round of financial help
Publication Date : 21-04-2014
Malaysia Airlines will be offering a second round of financial assistance to the families of those aboard the missing MH370 plane, as six weeks of searching has still found no signs of the wreckage.
The United States Navy's deep-sea underwater vehicle Bluefin-21 combed through about half the search area in the southern Indian Ocean at the end of its seventh mission early yesterday.
So far, nothing has been found.
The Bluefin-21 was sent on its eighth mission yesterday. Its search area is a 10km radius around the second signal detected by a US Navy towed pinger locator about two weeks ago.
Altogether, four signals consistent with aircraft blackbox pings were detected but no signals have been heard since April 8.
Malaysia's Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainudin, who briefed the Malaysian families yesterday, said the second round of financial assistance would be given to families of all 239 people on board the jetliner which vanished on March 8 en route to Beijing.
Malaysia Airlines would make the payments, with the government chipping in if necessary. The airline had earlier given US$5,000 to the families, as well as accommodation, meals and flights to Kuala Lumpur for the foreigners.
Hamzah said the authorities started identifying the recipients two weeks ago, as some families had registered numerous people as next of kin.
The families have also been asked to indicate the amount needed as financial assistance.
"Some of the families have lost their breadwinners and may be facing financial difficulties. However, when the assistance will be given, it will be determined at a later date as we have recipients from 15 different countries," he said.
The families have asked for official certificates to state that their relatives are missing, as some have difficulties handling matters such as outstanding bank loans.
Hamzah said the authorities have yet to decide on the cut-off date upon which it will issue such an announcement.
"We are looking at a date to announce. To make that kind of announcement, we need to decide on certain issues," he said but declined to say what these were.
He said it was hard to tell how many families have accepted that the plane was in the ocean.
Hamid Ramlan, whose daughter Norli Akmar and her husband Mohd Razahan Zamani were on the plane, said he has accepted that there are no survivors. But his wife has been unable to accept it, he said. She believes that the plane has been hijacked and their daughter is still alive.