Riau ends haze emergency response

Since July 6, the emergency status has been revoked, and now is the transitional period for recovery.
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Riau Province has ended forest fire and haze emergency response and is currently entering a transitional period for recovery.

"Since July 6, the emergency status has been revoked, and now is the transitional period for recovery," Agus Wibowo, a spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB)`s Haze Emergency Response Task Force, said here on Tuesday.

The Indonesian government had declared an emergency response status for Riau as of June 21 due to forest, peatland and plantation fires that had produced haze blanketing parts of Sumatra Island, Singapore and Malaysia.

The task force is currently trying to extinguish fires in Siak, Bengkalis and Dumai Districts, Riau Province. The NOAA 18 Satellite detected only three fire hotspots early this week.

"The task force`s focus is on Chevron area in Duri now. All helicopters and members of the Marine have been directed there," he said.

Around 2,000 members of the rapid reaction unit will return to Jakarta on June 21, 2013.

Vice Governor of Riau Mambang Mit has expressed his appreciation to those being involved in the fight against the fires, particularly personnel of the BNPB, the Agency for the Development and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and the National Police (Polri).

Meanwhile, the Police of Riau have arrested 23 suspects in connection with forest and peat land fires in the province.

Spokesperson of the Riau Police Command, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Hermansyah, said recently that two more suspects had been arrested following reports from local people making the number of the suspects to reach 23 who are all now under police detention.

The last two suspects namely Ham, arrested in Tanjung Leba Village, Bukit Batu Subdistrict of Bengkalis and BA, arrested in Sang Kemang Village, Koto Gasib Subdistrict of Siak District.

The 23 suspects have allegedly caused forest and land fires in 15 areas located in some districts in the Riau Province.(*)