The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo confirmed on Thursday that Indonesia is open to any foreign assistance to tackle forest fires in several provinces across Kalimantan and Sumatra. Some of the foreign assistance was being processed, he said.
'We have requested assistance from several countries and we have been helped by Singapore. Aid from other countries, namely Japan, Malaysia and Russia, is still being processed,' he said as quoted by kompas.com. The President was speaking while observing the drilling of a mass rapid transit tunnel project in Senayan, Jakarta, on Thursday.
President Jokowi said it was expected that foreign assistance could accelerate efforts to extinguish forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra. Among the assistance Indonesia had received was an aircraft, which was borrowed by the Singaporean government and could carry more than 10 tons of water to extinguish fires, he added.
The aerial fire extinguishing aircraft from Singapore is expected to arrive in Indonesia on Thursday. The government expects that Indonesia's forest fires will be completely resolved by the end of October.
'The handling of peat fires is different from the way you handle fires in ordinary forests. Three aircraft will arrive today and what we need most is an aircraft that can carry around 12-15 tons of water,' said Jokowi.
Land and forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra have been ongoing for several months, pushing down the air pollution index of areas in the two islands to a dangerous level. The haze disaster has disrupted many public activities. Schools were closed while thick haze led to flight delays and cancellations.
As reported earlier, President Jokowi is scheduled to observe the handling of fires in Jambi on Thursday. (ebf) (++++)
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