Saturday, October 10, 2015

Indonesia aims to put out fires in two weeks with aid from other countries

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said authorities target to put out forest fires burning in parts of the country in two weeks, with the help of other countries.

The fires have sent haze drifting across parts of the region.

"For one week (foreign help) will give priority to South Sumatra. The target is about two weeks from Menpolhukam (Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs), and Head of BNPB (National Disaster Management Agency). But, I hope it will be sooner," said Mr Widodo, quoted by local news agency

Speaking to reporters on Friday (Oct 9) while visiting areas affected by the forest fires in Riau, Mr Widodo said all foreign assistance will arrive in one to two days.

Countries which have offered help include Malaysia, Singapore and China.

Mr Widodo said the priority is in South Sumatra for one week because the haze is coming from there. He added that next year, the government plans to acquire at least three aircraft to deal with the forest fires. These aircraft will have the capacity to carry more than 12 tons of water.

Mr Widodo said for the past 17 years, Indonesia has been fighting forest fires with aircraft that only have the capacity to carry between two and three tons of water, and this has not been too effective.

Presidential communications team member Ari Dwipayana said there are no details yet on what kind of aircraft the government will buy, but they will be used for other purposes as well.

"Besides using them to put out land and forest fires, the aircraft can also be used to transport logistical aid if there is a disaster in certain areas," said Mr Ari, as quoted by
- CNA/dl

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