Haze Worsening, Regions Assessed Slow In Anticipating Disaster

September 16, 2015

Students play soccer despite thick haze in Pulau Mentaro, Muaro Jambi, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Regions are considered slow to anticipate catastrophic forest fires that led to haze in some areas of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said local governments did not perform preventive measures despite having been warned by the central government.

“The haze problem shows the level of coordination regional heads are working or not," said Tjahjo in Jakarta on Wednesday, September 16.

Tjahjo rejected accusations that the central government is slow to anticipate the forest fires. He said, the central government had sent radiograms to regional heads and their staffs since the beginning of the dry season.

According to Tjahjo, if coordination of regional heads with their local units are running well, catastrophic fires that resulted haze will not happen.

He said the majority of fires caused by companies deliberately burning land. To minimize the possibility of repeated forest fires, the government will record every plantation companies.

The number of fires and haze went up and down. In the city of Jambi, on Wednesday, visibility deteriorated to only 500 meters from Tuesday at 3,500 meters. "This condition is triggered by the rising hot spots," said forecaster Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) Jambi, Dwi Atmoko. On Wednesday there were 58 fires there, up from the previous day were only five points were detected.

Head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency Jambi Province Arif Munandar continue fighting fires with a total personnel of 2,000 people. The only problem is, according to him, the haze in Jambi originated in South Sumatra.

Pekanbaru BMKG station monitored 419 hot spots in Sumatra from as many as 48 points on Tuesday. Pekanbaru BMKG head Sugarin said hotspots in South Sumatra was 335 points, in Jambi 70 points, 70 points in Lampung and Riau, 5 points. For visibility, in Pelalawan was 100 meters, 200 meters in Rengat, Pekanbaru was 1,200 meters and 5,000 meters in Dumai.

Fire Extinguishing Task Force Commander Brigadier General Riau Nurendi said most of land burning in Riau were intentional. Nurendi rejected claims that peat burning was natural. "Despite the hot weather, peat will not burn if not intentionally burned,” he said.

In South Kalimantan, Head of BMKG at Syamsudin Noor Airport, Ibnu Sulistiono, said Wednesday, the number of fires decreased to 108 from the previous day 379. Antasari 101 military commander, Colonel Muhammad Abduh Ras, said they had deployed 1,800 joint personnel for fight fires.

In West Kalimantan, Pontianak Supadio Airport General Manager, Bayuh Iswantoro, said the weather conditions was worse on Wednesday.

“Visibility in the morning was just 300 meters and vertical visibility was only 400 feet," he said, disrupting flights to the area.

Source: en,

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