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Jakarta Post

Jakarta 'haze squad' heads to Central Kalimantan after Riau declines help

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, September 19, 2019   /   03:28 pm
Jakarta 'haze squad' heads to Central Kalimantan after Riau declines help Activists of the We’re Dying Alliance hold a demonstration on the Riau forest fire on Sept. 15, 2019 at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The Jakarta administration's team of 65 disaster management and social services officers has been reassigned to Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan to help combat the forest fires there, instead of its initially intended destination of Riau province.

Riau has been declared as the province worst affected by forest fire.

“The information I have received is that [the team] was redirected to Central Kalimantan, because the situation there is quite severe. The Home Ministry redirected them,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Wednesday, reported.

Riau province was the intended destination of the Jakarta team,  which comprises 25 Jakarta Fire and Rescue Agency officers, 10 Jakarta Health Agency officers, five Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Jakarta) officers and 10 Jakarta Social Affairs Agency officers, as well as 10 volunteers and five support staff.

But the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Riau) declined the offered assistance, saying that it did not need the additional help from Jakarta. 

Anies said although the Jakarta administration had wanted to help Riau, it had followed procedure and reported its intentions to the Home Ministry and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

“We did not send the assistance directly [to Riau], but to the central government. The government then sent them to their destination. The coordination is through the Home Ministry,” he said.

Anies said that he was glad that Riau did not need additional help to combat its forest and peatland fires.

Earlier on Tuesday, Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency head Edwar Sanger said that the province had enough firefighters to manage its fires.

“It’s not that we have rejected [the assistance], but we did not need it because we still have sufficient personnel for this,” said Edwar.

He added that Riau did not have many hotspots, so the assistance from Jakarta should be rerouted to those regions with more hotspots to prevent the smoke from reaching Riau. (ami)