President orders activating command posts to handle smoke from fires

President Jokowi has ordered the opening of four command posts in Kalimantan and four in Sumatra.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has ordered to activate command posts to control and tackle smoke problems in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

"The president has ordered the opening of four command posts in Kalimantan and four in Sumatra," Chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Syamsul Maarif stated here on Friday after attending a limited cabinet meeting led by the president at the State Palace.

He noted that the president is giving serious attention to the problem and has also planned to personally inspect the on-field situation.

Syamsul remarked that four measures to be taken to deal with the smoke arising from bush fires, include extinguishing the fires as early as possible, ensuring law enforcement, undertaking health efforts, and informing the public to not set fire for land-clearing activities.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment Bambang Hendroyono pointed out that, as the field coordinator, his office would work with all concerned parties to immediately overcome the smoke problem.

He stated that a meeting with the military and the police would be held on Saturday to deal with the situation.

Bambang noted that 156 fires had been detected in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

He hoped the smoke problem would be overcome this month.

Activities at the airport in Jambi, Sumatra, had been brought to a standstill, with no flight operations on Friday due to the thick smog covering the area.

The airports chief operator, Parolan Simanjuntak, stated that until late afternoon, 12 flights had been cancelled, and no aircraft had landed at the Sulthan Thaha Airport. He added that only one Garuda flight had departed to Jakarta in the morning after an overnight halt at the airport.

He emphasized that only one aircraft had landed at the airport at 8:30 p.m. local time on Thursday.(*)