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Funds for handling forest fires reach Rp300 bln JAKARTA - Collected funds from different institutions to be used to avert and overcome forest fires amounted to 300 billion Rupiah (24.8 million euro) for this year, according to Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban. The minister told that the funds were collected from the Office of the Coordinating Minister for People' s Welfare (100 billion Rupiah), the Forestry Ministry (66 billion Rupiah), while the rest found it's origins from provincial administrations. "Each province of the seven participating provinces provides Rp10 billion," the minister said.

Kaban told that 78 percent of the areas where forest fires were located belonged to people and thus the local administrations had to join in efforts to tackle the problem. "The provincial administrations must be responsible for the forest fires," he said, adding that 26 billion Rupiah of the funds was used to rent helicopters. "The fund is used to rent four to seven helicopters which pour water on fires for about 500 hours," he said.

The minister told that he could reduce the number of hot spots in Indonesia with more than 50 percent in comparison with last season. He told that anticipatory measures were made in North Sumatra, Jambi, Central Kalimantan and Riau. He was optimistic that the number of forest fires could be reduced drastically this season. "With the involvement of regional heads - governors, district heads and mayors as well as security institutions like the National Defense Force and the National Police - I believe there will be drastic changes in 2007," he said.

The government has set a zero burning target, he said. Forest areas should be managed in a modern way and the effort to clean up the areas must be made with the use of advanced technology. A number of big companies that have been committed in participating in the effort to avoid forest fires. "In June 2006, there were about 200 hot spots, and now only two hot spots are detected in Riau and Jambi," Kaban said.



Posted in Forest fires @ 17 June 2007 14:33 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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