Singapore Offers Assistance in Anticipation of Haze Returning

Jakarta Globe 24 Aug 16;

Jakarta. Indonesian Ambassador I Gede Ngurah Swajaya said the government of Singapore has offered assistance to put out peatland and forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

"The Singaporean government has already offered to douse the fires – they have offered a plane and a helicopter," Ngurah told state-run news agency Antara in Jakarta on Wednesday (24/08).

The Indonesian government has not yet confirmed whether it would accept the offer of foreign assistance, since the forest fires this year are not as hazardous as last year.

"The hotspots this year are much fewer compared to last year. In addition to the thorough monitoring conducted by officials, the unusually wet dry season has been favorable to us," Ngurah added.

While smoke from the fires has yet to reach the city-state, the Singaporean government expressed its readiness to cooperate in anticipation of this happening.

"This is a concrete step in working together as a government, private sector and community to put out the fires," the ambassador said.

In Riau province, 35 hotspots have been detected in the districts of Rokan Hulu, Siak, Inhu, Pelalawan, Bengkalis and Dumai.

North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Lampung, Bangka Belitung, Jambi and West Kalimantan have a combined total of 43 reported hotspots.

On Sunday, Malaysia also offered to assist Indonesia by deploying aerial water bombers after detecting haze in the capital Kuala Lumpur last week.

We are prepared to send our Bombardier aircraft to Sumatra to help put out the forest fires that have been responsible for the cross-border haze," Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim said, as reported by Malaysian news outlets.

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