RI to buy waterbombing aircraft next year: President

"Minimally, we will buy three planes that have big capacity or are able to water bomb with up to 12 tons of water," Jokowi said.
Kampar, Riau (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo said on Friday that Indonesia would buy aircraft, which can be specially used to tackle fires or conduct water bombing, next year.

"Minimally, we will buy three planes that have big capacity or are able to water bomb with up to 12 tons of water," he said while inspecting burned areas in the village of Rombo Panjang in the sub-district of Tambang, Kampar, Riau province in Sumatra.

The President revealed that the budget for the purchase is yet to be discussed with the parliament.

Regarding the current haze problem, President Widodo said he believed it would be settled within the next two weeks or even less than two weeks if possible.

He added that assistance from several foreign countries would be focused on the fires in South Sumatra.

"It will be concentrated in South Sumatra first because based on our checks, most fires have indeed been found in South Sumatra," he said while visiting the health service command post for haze victims in the village of Lereng.

The President also said that several foreign countries had expressed a readiness to extend help to Indonesia to deal with the fire problem, including Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, Australia and China.

"Today, only assistance from Singapore has come, but tomorrow perhaps others would follow," he said.

President Widodo said foreign assistance had been extended in the form of planes that could carry above 10 tons of water.

"We must know what we are dealing with is peat land forests. There is no fire found on the surface, but below it is burning," he stated.

President Widodo also stressed that greater efforts were needed to extinguish the fires because the areas affected were larger and because of the increased impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon.(*)

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