Singapore to continue offering assistance to Indonesia to tackle haze

Firefighters employed by Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd. (April) hose down burnt-off vegetation from forest fires during a media tour of firefighting operations in Riau province in Pelalawan, Riau, Indonesia, on Wednesday, March 5,
Firefighters employed by Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd. (April) hose down burnt-off vegetation from forest fires during a media tour of firefighting operations in Riau province in Pelalawan, Riau, Indonesia, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 

SINGAPORE - The Republic will in 2015 continue to offer assistance to Indonesia to help it combat land and forest fires that cause transboundary haze.

In a statement on Wednesday, Singapore's Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources said the Government will deploy one C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations, up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry a fire-fighting assistance team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, an SCDF team to provide assessment and planning assistance in fire-fighting efforts to their Indonesian counterparts, high resolution satellite pictures and hotspot coordinates and a Chinook helicopter with one SCDF water bucket for aerial fire-fighting.

This year's assistance package is the same as the one offered in 2014, it added.

"Since 2005, the Singapore Government has consistently offered assistance packages to the Indonesian government in the run-up to the traditional dry season from June to October, to complement Indonesia's efforts in combating possible land and forest fires," the ministry said.

The probability of transboundary haze goes up during the dry season, due to the region's susceptibility to land and forest fires.

The El Nino weather phenomenon, associated with the warming of sea surface temperatures, is also believed to affect the region this year.

The ministry cautioned that this could worsen the impact of transboundary haze.