We know that 80 percent of (ex-)forest fire (areas) in Pelalawan were turned into plantations
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Doni Monardo, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), has said smog coming from forest fires is indirect killer, and therefore it should be tackled by all concerned parties.

Letting haze to spread meant allowing damage to next generation, Monardo said in a statement here on Sunday.

The government, the public and the private sector must synergize to tackle and prevent forest fires, he remarked.

Failure to tackle haze would make it a potential killer. So, if all related parties are successful in stopping the smog, they could become heroes of humanity.

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Based on his monitoring in Riau, most of the forest fires were man made causes. He cited as an example that 80 percent of ex-forest fire areas turned into plantations in Pelelawan, Riau Province.

"We know that 80 percent of (ex-)forest fire (areas) in Pelalawan were turned into plantations. I have taken a note, I remember that the Pelalawan District Head said so," he remarked.

He recalled a slogan saying "Riau without haze". But now Riau is shrouded by haze, he added.

Meanwhile, the Social Affairs Ministry has prepared safe houses or shelters, especially for children and elderly, whose cities or villages, including in Riau and West Kalimantan provinces, were engulfed by haze emanating from forest fires. "We have prepared safe houses in regions being hit by forest fires," Harry Hikmat, the ministry's director general for protection and social security, stated on Saturday.

The safe house program is being implemented in cooperation with the Health Ministry, Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), Indonesian Police (Polri), and local authorities.

The safe houses are equipped with air purifiers for fresh oxygen and folding beds. The houses are tightly sealed to prevent smog from permeating and are run by capable personnel comprising psychologists and paramedics, among others.

The ministry has set up two safe houses in Aceh, respectively each in Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar; four in North Sumatra, constituting three in Medan and one in Deli Serdang District; two in Riau Province, both in Pekanbaru; two in South Sumatra, both being in Palembang; four in West Kalimantan, each respectively in Pontianak, Kubu Raya, Ketapang, and Sanggau; three in South Kalimantan; and five in South Sulawesi.

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Translator: Anom Prihantoro, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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