The Jakarta Post
The state of emergency concerning haze in Riau will be lifted on Thursday, as the situation has much improved and the province will enter the recovery phase.
'The haze status will be lifted on July 11, and Riau will be in the recovery phase until October. Presently, the task force is completing its unfinished tasks and the responsibility will shift from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB] to the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency [BPBD],' said Riau haze task force coordinator Agus Wibowo on Tuesday.
Roesmin Nurjadin Airport in Pekanbaru would no longer be the task force's only base as it will establish another post at the BPBD building.
Agus said that thousands of personnel from the Indonesian Military and the National Police would remain in Riau until July 21.
After that, the BNPB will evaluate whether its members are still needed there or if they can return to their previous posts.
'They might go home. They will not be sent to Aceh because we have deployed enough personnel in Aceh,' he went on.
Agus said that Siak and Bengkalis regencies were still experiencing hazy conditions, while the remaining 10 regencies or cities were haze free.
'But we still remain alert because the ground has started to dry. This month is usually the peak of the dry season in Riau. That's why we have kept our personnel in the field. Their job now is not only to fight forest fires but also to catch people who cause fires,' he added.
Besides thousands of personnel, the BNPB has provided three helicopters for water bombing.
'The three choppers will be used to fight fires in Siak and Bengkalis. We have found it difficult to put out fires in both areas,' said Agus.
Meanwhile, Riau BPBD head Said Saqlul Amri said his office planned to recruit 200 additional personnel.
'Currently there are only 35 people, including myself. So it's impossible for us to put out fires unless we are assisted by the central government.'
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