June 7, 2016 – The Government of Singapore has renewed its haze assistance package to Indonesia, which it has been offering since 2005 to support the country’s fire mitigation efforts. The announcement comes, despite an Indonesian minister saying last month that Jakarta is reviewing cooperation with Singapore in environment and forestry matters.
“This is part of the Singapore Government’s broader commitment to assist the Indonesian Government in its efforts to deal with the land and forest fires in the run-up to the traditional dry season from June to October,” said the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) in a news release earlier today.
The haze assistance package offered by Singapore this year includes:
Up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry a fire-fighting assistance team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
A team from SCDF to provide fire-fighting assessment and planning assistance to its Indonesian counterparts
One C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations
High-resolution satellite pictures of fires and the coordinates of the fire sites
MEWR noted that transboundary haze from land and forest fires has been a perennial problem in the southern ASEAN region for decades, with last year’s haze episode being one of the worst and most prolonged in history, impacting health and livelihoods of people in Indonesia and beyond.
“The Singapore Government remains committed to working with the Indonesian Government and other like-minded partners to find more permanent solutions to this regional problem,” MEWR said.
Singapore authorities have been trying to get to the root of the problem. Last month, the National Environment Agency in Singapore issued a court warrant in a bid to question the director of an Indonesian firm linked to illegal forest fires that caused the haze last year. Indonesian officials told the media they protested the move, although Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said no such protest was received at its embassy in Jakarta.