A man wears a mask for protection against the haze as he waits at a polling station during the general election in Singapore. The thick haze from Indonesia's Sumatra and Kalimantan islands has forced the repeated cancellation of flights in the area and pushed air quality to unhealthy levels in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. (Reuters/Edgar Su)

Singapore Offers Military Assistance to Help Indonesia With Haze Crisis

BY :BASTEN GOKKON

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015

Jakarta. The Singapore government has offered to assist Indonesia in efforts to tame the wildfires and consequential haze crisis in Sumatra and Kalimantan, which have caused the air pollution index in the city state and Malaysia to reach alarming levels.

In a statement published by Singapore's Ministry of Defense (Mindef) addressed to Indonesia's Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on Thursday, Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen reiterated the country's offer to assist the fire-fighting.

According to the statement, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have placed a C-130 aircraft on standby for cloud seeding operations, a Chinook helicopter with a water bucket for aerial fire-fighting and up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) fire-fighting team.

"The SAF stands ready to support and assist the Indonesian Military [TNI], which has been deployed to put out the fires," the ministry said.

On Thursday, air pollution indexes in Singapore and Malaysia reached dangerous levels, measuring at 138 and 137, respectively, as haze from forest fires raging in Sumatra and Kalimantan spread to the two neighboring nations.

The TNI and Indonesian National Police have deployed more than 1,000 officers to the two islands to put out the fires, estimating that they will be extinguished within the next two weeks.

A Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading above 100 is defined as "unhealthy," according to Singapore government guidelines.

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