The Jakarta Post
Malaysia and Australia's aid to Indonesia in lending water bombing aircraft ended on Monday. So, Indonesia turned to Russia for more help to tackle the haze crisis.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Tuesday that Bombardier aircraft from Malaysia and Hercules aircraft from Australia had returned to their respective countries.
"They have ended their five-day mission. There is only Chinook Mustang helicopter conducting water bombing in South Sumatra,' Sutopo said in a statement sent to thejakartapost.com on Tuesday.
He said there are currently 11 helicopters and airplanes, ten from Indonesia and one from Singapore for water bombing and cloud seeding.
"To increase the water bombing efforts, the government brought in two units of amphibi aircraft Beriev Be-200 along with 20 crew from Russia. They will land on Wednesday morning in Palembang," he said, adding that Russian Embassy officials have arrived in Palembang.
Sutopo explained that the the Be-200 plane is a legendary amphibious water bombing aircraft with a 12,000 liter capacity. Its ability includes taking water from rivers, lakes and the sea.
"Indonesia used this type of aircraft in the 2007 forest and land fires," he said.
As part of its strategy, the government moved two Air Tractor planes to Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Belitung province, to support the operation as Palembang airport is covered with thick haze with less visibility that disrupts the flights.
Sutopo added that water tanks with a capacity of 5,000 liters of water, chemical materials and other equipment have been prepared in the Pangkal Pinang base for fire extinguishing operations.
Seperately, Sugarin Hidayat, chief of Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said there were 623 hot spots detected in Sumatra on Tuesday. The Terra Aqua satellites recorded 19 hot spots in Bengkulul, 67 in Jambi, 23 in Lampung, 456 in South Sumatra, 6 in West Sumatra, 28 in Bangka Belitung and 24 in Riau.
'The weather in Riau is cloudy and covered by haze. The potential for rain is very low, ' he said. (rin)
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