As Indonesia is facing an ecological emergency, environment-related campaigning is very possible ahead of this year's elections. (Reuters/Beawiharta)

Joko Embraces Help of International Community as Haze Crisis Continues


OCTOBER 09, 2015

Jakarta. Six nations have told President Joko Widodo they are willing to assist in Indonesia's fight against land and forest fires in Sumatara and Kalimantan, the root of the region's haze crisis.

So far, the president said, only fire-fighting equipped aircrafts from Singapore have arrived.

Malaysia, South Korea, China, Australia and Russia have indicated support, a statement from the president's team said on Friday.

“But only [aircraft] from Singapore has arrived. [Aircraft] from other nations will probably only start arriving from Sunday,” Joko said during a visit to the haze-affected Lereng village in Kampar district, Riau, on Friday.

Riau is among several Indonesian provinces hit by the seasonal fire and haze crisis, which has been exacerbated this year by the El Nino phenomenon bringing extremely dry weather to the region.

The Singaporean fire-fighting aircraft will be able to carry between 12,000 and 15,000 liters of water per flight and has a far greater capacity to waterbomb and extinguish fire hotspots than Indonesian planes.

“We need planes that have the capacity to carry 12 tons to 15 tons of water, unlike the aircraft that [Indonesia has], which have a water capacity of two to three tons. They are insufficient,” Joko earlier said on Thursday, as quoted by news portal

Aircraft operations will be focused on South Sumatra where satellite imaging has found the most hotspots.

The Indonesian government has previously rejected offers of assistance from other countries, notably haze-effected Singapore and Malaysia.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung earlier said the administration was concerned foreign government would claim credit for ending the crisis.