Senior minister monitors haze mitigation efforts in South Sumatra

Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan visited South Sumatra province on Friday to monitor the efforts undertaken to handle haze caused by land and forest fires.

Panjaitan accompanied by National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti, Army Chief of Staff General Mulyono, and South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin aboard a helicopter monitored the handling of haze in Ogan Komering Ilir district, which has witnessed the highest number of hotspots and land fires.

The minister pointed out that the haze disaster must be handled soon as it has far-reaching impacts not only on the peoples economy but also on human health.

He remarked that the existing efforts to cope with the haze disaster in South Sumatra must be stepped up as they have not yielded maximum results as expected.

South Sumatra still has several hotspots. On Friday, 450 hotspots were detected as opposed to 239 a day before.

He affirmed that the forest fire control task force in the province had done a good job. However, they still have to work harder to overcome the haze disaster immediately.

To handle the haze disaster in South Sumatra and several parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the central government will deploy more personnel and equipment, he emphasized.

"I urge all personnel involved in the haze disaster control efforts, both from the regional government and the Indonesian military and police, to take care of their health," he added.(*)