Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has called on regional authorities to form a task force to mitigate effects of El Nino that potentially caused forest fires and drought.

"All regional authorities should organize a preparedness roll call and set up a special task force to anticipate effects of El Nino that can cause forest fires and drought," BNPB Chairperson Suharyanto noted, as per the statement here on Saturday.

According to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), El Nino is a natural phenomenon of unusual warming of sea surface temperature in the central part of the Pacific Ocean.

The BMKG also forecast that effects of the dry season would occur longer than in the previous years due to El Nino.

Suharyanto stressed that all stakeholders should focus on mitigating forest fires triggered by El Nino, as President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will personally oversee its handling.

He urged the task force for forest fire handling to continue to monitor developments in the weather conditions, hot spots, peatland water depth, and other factors that might cause forest fires.

"Early warnings on those indicators can be observed through the BMKG, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and Peatland and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) websites," the BNPB head expounded.

Suharyanto called on stakeholders to identify all needs on forest fire handling duties, such as personnel, equipment, and logistics preparedness.

They can also request additional assistance from the central government if necessary, he stated.

"I ask all stakeholders (government, academics, business actors, communities, and media) forming the pentahelix bond to synergize effectively and efficiently in forest fire handling," Suharyanto stated.

The BNPB head also called on the police and military to maintain security and take appropriate measures against perpetrators of forest fires, illegal logging, and similar environmental crimes.

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Translator: Lintang Budiyanti, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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