Jakarta sends 10,000 to fight fires

KUCHING: The Indonesian government started a firefighting mechanism last month in view of the haze that hit Sarawak, disclosed its Consulate General in Kuching vice-consul Ringgi Perdini.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan said the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also met with the Malaysian Consulate at the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta yesterday to give an update on Indonesia’s firefighting efforts.

Kho and Tan Kai, a political secretary to the Chief Minister, paid a visit to the Consulate General in Kuching to find out what Indonesia was doing about forest fires in Kalimantan.

According to Ringgi, Kho said, Indonesia had despatched more than 10,000 personnel consisting of corporate employees, firefighters, volunteers, soldiers to fight the fires.

The Indonesian government also despatched 18 helicopters to conduct water-bombing missions in affected areas.

Kho and Tan Kai meeting with Ringgi.

Based on reports, West Kalimantan was the hardest hit by fires. Eight helicopters were despatched to put out fires there.

Nineteen plantation companies suspected of causing the fires are being investigated by Indonesian authorities.

Ringgi explained that the Indonesian government viewed the situation seriously and had been monitoring through satellite images.

Hotspots had been found along the Sarawak-West Kalimantan border.

Kho added that Ringgi was pleased with the visit, as she was able to explain in detail about Indonesia’s efforts to tackle the fires.

She believed that such a visit was an effective way of communication between the two countries.

Three areas in Central Kalimantan with forest and plantation fires are Palangkaraya, Pulang Pisau and Gunung Mas regencies. Photo: AFP

For illustration purpose only: Fire hotspots in the immediate region. Photo: Google image