Indonesia: Beware of long drought this year

Antara 21 Aug 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto asked all the parties to be aware of the possibility of a long drought in 2018.

"Due to a change in the weather conditions, there can be a longer drought, and we must be aware of that," Wiranto said following a closed meeting at the Jakarta Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

He said that the hot dry season has led to forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

"Yes, there are forest and land fires because this is the dry season," Wiranto said.

The government, continued the former Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) Commander, had reminded all parties to be prepared in advance.

Wiranto said that the case of forest and land fires (karhutla) until August 2018 was lower than that reported in the previous year.

"Compared with last year, the fires are now less, because we were seriously prepared and all of us are `all out`," said Wiranto, who is also the former Chairperson of the People`s Conscience Party (Hanura).

According to him, the preparation has been carried out both by the task force, which is incorporated in Manggala Agni, and other parties.

Preparation has also been carried out with the construction of `embungs`, water pumps, integrated patrols, and water bombers.

"It`s more powerful, stronger than before. We have done it, if we still have it, we will finish it," he said.

He mentioned that specifically in Palembang, South Sumatra, some time ago, there was weather engineering, which ensured rain in the area.

"There is weather engineering, but not everyday, because there is engineering from BNPB along with the Indonesian Air Force," he said.

According to him, artificial rain cannot be imported at any time, but attention must be paid to the cloud conditions.

"Salt is sown if there are clouds; if there are no clouds sprinkled with salt, there is no rain," he said.

The government, he added, continues to try to overcome cases of forest and land fires. "I believe that we are coping well," he said.

Yesterday, there was a smoke-free Palembang guarantee during the 2018 Asian Games that had been implemented and it has been successful and hopefully there will be no smoke until the Games end, "he said.

Meanwhile, regarding the status of declaring the earthquake in Lombok a national disaster, Wiranto said the government was considering taking into account all the advantages and disadvantages.

"We hope that it can be resolved completely, and until now, the current status of central assistance is truly extraordinary and we also know that the central government will not continue to stand idly just because the disaster is not a national disaster," he said.

Edited by Suharto
Editor: Heru Purwanto

Peatland fire near Jakabaring Sport City put out
Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 21 Aug 18;

A peatland fire that was spotted around 100 meters from Jakabaring Sport City in Palembang on Tuesday has been put out and did not disrupt any ongoing Asian Games competitions, South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin has said.

“We are still finding out what the cause of the fire was but it has been put out. The dry climate, with its heavy heat, is prone to producing fires,” he said.

Ten fire trucks and a water-bombing chopper were deployed to the scene and firefighters and military and police personnel were on duty to prevent similar incidents from occurring, he said.

“It is 100 percent under control and we are more than ready to prevent this from happening again,” he said.

A few days before Aug. 18, the opening day of the Asian Games, the South Sumatra administration faced challenges in extinguishing peatland fires in several hotspots outside the city. Dozens of potential hot spots were detected prior to the Games but the city administration has managed to keep them wet to prevent other fires from breaking out.