Indonesia defends haze-fighting efforts

2015-10-01 21:24
(Adek Berry, AFP)

(Adek Berry, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jakarta - Indonesia's disaster chief on Thursday defended the country's efforts to fight forest fires that have blanketed Southeast Asia in choking haze, and said he believed rains would arrive within a month to finally douse the blazes.

"Are we able to manage the fires? The answer is clearly a yes... we are not overwhelmed, we can manage it and there is progress," National Disaster Management Agency chief Willem Rampangilei told reporters.

Malaysia, Singapore and large expanses of Indonesia have suffered for weeks from acrid smoke billowing from fires on plantations and peatlands that are being illegally cleared by burning.

Singapore has offered to help in fighting the fires but Rampangilei said it was not needed.

"Indonesia welcomes the offer but at this moment, everything is under control," he said.

"We can see some achievements, some progress that we have successfully extinguished a number of fires," he added.

More than 20 000 troops, police and other personnel have been sent to Sumatra and Kalimantan to fight the fires through water bombing and chemically inducing rainfall.

Need rain

"Indonesia has tried all it could to douse the fires... and is still working very hard," he said.

Rampangilei said while the firefighters have successfully subdued the flames, the choking smog remains a problem but he is hopeful the approaching rainy season will put an end to the crisis.

"We need heavy rainfall or sufficient waterbombing so, it takes time to resolve the haze," he said.

"I hope the haze will be resolved in a month, that is either end October or early November," he said.

Indonesia has faced pressure from its neighbours to address the problem since it first emerged nearly 20 years ago.

Singapore officials have reacted with outrage to Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla's comments that the country's neighbours should be grateful for good air quality most of the year, and that Jakarta need not apologise for the crisis.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  environment  |  fires

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.