Riau, 25 Dzulhijjah 1436/9 Oktober, 2015 (MINA) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will utilize several offers of assistance from foreign countries to extinguish forest and land fires in Sumatra Island.
“Firstly, we will utilize foreign assistance to fight fires in the South Sumatra area. According to our monitoring, the region still has the most number of hotspots,” the president affirmed here on Friday.
Jokowi pointed out that some countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, China, and Australia have offered assistance to extinguish forest fires. Antaranews reported as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
The president said Singapore will start providing assistance on Friday.
“I assumed that assistance from other countries will arrive on next Sunday,” Jokowi added.
Foreign countries will deploy several cargo aircraft capable of dropping over 10 tons of water on the hotspots.
The president said the fires that occurred in peatland areas are more difficult to extinguish as the flames continue to burn under the surface of the upper peat.
He added that it will take a long period of time to extinguish fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands as the fires are spread over a wide area of land and also due to the drought induced by the El Nino weather phenomenon.
Additionally, Health Minister Nila Moeloek hoped all people would use masks while venturing outdoors.
“It is very important as the pollutants measure between 10 and 2.5 microns. There are also gas pollutants arising from the burnt peatland areas,” Nila emphasized.
Nila stated that the government had already witnessed the impacts of the pollutants. She hoped that by agreeing to utilize foreign assistance, Indonesia will be able to extinguish fires and bring down the level of pollutants in the air.
Chief of Kampar District Jefry Noer noted that the number of patients suffering from acute respiratory infections had increased due to the haze engulfing the region.
He remarked that on a daily basis, 20 people suffering from respiratory infections visited the public health center.
The chief affirmed that the health center is ready to provide free treatment to patients round the clock. (T/P008/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)