Indonesia: Three foreign countries to help in peat land restoration

Antara 26 Jan 16;

Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Three foreign countries will help South Sumatra in restoring its peat lands to be productive again after being damaged by forest fires last year.

The Netherlands, Britain and Norway have offered assistance to preserve peat lands in the province, Najib Asmani, a climate expert staff of the provincial governor said here on Tuesday.

Najib said the plan is to prevent forest and bush fires , which have badly damaged the environment in 2015.

He said cooperation with the foreign countries would include in taking inventory of data, strengthening institutions and empowerment of the local people living around forest areas.

He said in preventing forest and bush fires, the provincial administration did not rely only on cooperation with the foreign countries.

"We will have much to do ourselves such as drawing maps of areas vulnerable to forest fires and making the people more aware of the extent of damage that could be inflicted by forest fire," he said.

Earlier, South Sumatra military commander Brig. Gen Komarudin Simanjuntak pledged military support to prevent recurrence of forest and bush fires in the province.

The military would set up monitoring posts to be able to move as early as possible in the event of fires, the general said.

South Sumatra was one of the hardest hit by last years big forest fires that sent haze of thick smokes as far as neighboring countries - Malaysia and Singapore.

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