The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Military (TNI) is set to send personnel to aid Australia in fighting the ongoing bushfires in that country following approval from the House of Representatives.
The decision was a follow-up to an offer made by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the beginning of the year.
“The offer of aid support for the prevention of and recovery from the Australian bushfires was conveyed by the President to PM Scott Morrison in a letter dated Jan. 3,” Foreign Ministry Director General for Asia-Pacific and African affairs Desra Percaya told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The offer was confirmed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in a meeting with representatives from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta three days later, who then responded through the Australian Defense Force (ADF), which expressed a need for support in the rehabilitation of areas affected by the disaster, Desra said.
Follow-up discussions were held involving various parties in Indonesia and Australia from mid-January, including a visit by an assessment team comprising TNI and National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) personnel to Canberra and Sydney from Jan. 21 to 24.
"Assistance from Indonesia is provided in accordance with the current needs of the Australian people and government,” Desra said.
TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said that SST Zeni, an Army engineering unit, would be dispatched to Australia on Feb. 1.
“We plan to send them to Australia through Kupang using a Hercules aircraft,” Hadi said as quoted by Kompas.com. He added that his personnel, as well as several BNPB representatives, would help the Australian government in handling the bushfire at their assigned locations. (dpk)