Taking early action a key lesson learnt from this year's haze crisis: Indonesian Minister

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan says coordination among various agencies is another lesson learnt to ensure this year's haze crisis, the worst ever on record, does not repeat itself next year.
Saifulbahri Ismail Channel NewsAsia 11 Nov 15;

JAKARTA: Taking early action has been one of the key lessons learnt from the forest fires and haze crisis this year, according to Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.

Speaking to foreign media, Luhut Pandjaitan said that coordination among various agencies was another takeaway in ensuring this year's haze crisis, the worst ever on record, does not repeat itself next year.

"We have to extinguish the fires as early as possible, we cannot wait. If we wait, then we have to wait for the rain, the hands of God,” said Mr Luhut.

He added that the main challenge in tackling the forest fires was the worse-than-expected El Nino phenomenon. The Indonesian weather agency has been blamed for wrongly predicting the extent of the dry season this year, with the prolonged dry spell making it much more difficult to put out the forest fires.

“If we don't have rain, then we cannot control the fire. We really apologise for what happened in the last two months, we have learnt from this and we will not take any more risks. So, although they are predicting that next year there will be a small El Nino, we will still prepare for the worst El Nino," said Mr Luhut.

There is still haze caused by forest fires in Ogan Kemering Ilir in south Sumatra due to dry weather, but in general, the worst seems to be over.

Mr Luhut also highlighted the need for strong leadership as another key lesson learnt.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has visited hotspot areas and those affected by the haze several times. He also cut short his visit to the United States to fly home and oversee efforts to deal with the crisis.

- CNA/yt

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