Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) continues to reduce the impact of El Niño that hit several regions in Indonesia with land and air operations.

El Niño is a natural phenomenon that can pose weak to moderate threats, disrupting water supply and potentially leading to drought and a decline in agricultural food production activities.

In a statement received on Wednesday, BNPB Head Lieutenant General Suharyanto stated that his side would handle forest and land fires in two ways.

"The first one is the land operation by supporting the land task force with pumps, hoses, personal protective equipment, and modified motorbikes to extinguish the fire, including an operational budget as well," he noted at a limited meeting on El Niño impacts' mitigation on October 3.

The second approach is by conducting air operation through the deployment of helicopters in priority areas for handling forest and land fires.

"We deployed 35 helicopters, namely 13 patrol helicopters and 22 water bombing helicopters. We had deployed all of our forces," he stated.

Suharyanto noted that six priority provinces -- West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra, Riau, and Jambi -- were equipped with water bombing helicopters.

Specifically for air operations, his side does not only send helicopters to priority areas but also to areas experiencing other land fires.

"We also send helicopters to other provinces with land fires, such as fires in mountains and landfill sites. If a region declares an emergency response status and asks BNPB for assistance to extinguish the burning fire, we will immediately send help," Suharyanto remarked.

In addition, the BNPB collaborates with ministries and institutions to apply weather modification technology (TMC) to extinguish fire and support other needs.

"As of today, BNPB has carried out weather modification technology 244 times, with the amount of salt distributed being 341,580 kg," he noted.

In the last two months, TMC has been implemented continuously in Riau, West Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Java, Jambi, Jakarta, South Kalimantan, and South Sumatra, he stated.

In future, TMC will continue to use 10 aircraft in collaboration with the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) in Jambi, Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, and Riau, Suharyanto stated.

The meeting was chaired by President Joko Widodo and attended by ministers and heads of institutions to discuss issues related to drought, clean water availability, the agricultural situation, and anticipating and handling forest and land fires.

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Translator: Devi Nindy S R, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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