SINGAPORE: The Government of Singapore has received a formal note from Indonesia, stating that Indonesia “welcome(s) the cooperation offered by Singapore to suppress large-scale forest fires in Indonesia”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 8).
It comes a day after Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he had a good discussion with his Indonesian counterpart on the fires which are causing transboundary haze pollution across Indonesia's neighbours such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has also requested help from Malaysia, Russia and Japan to battle the fires on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.
MFA said it is awaiting further details from Indonesian counterparts, on the assets under Singapore's haze assistance package which Indonesia will require.
"To elaborate on our package, we have offered one C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations. However, such operations will ultimately depend on whether cloud conditions are conducive for cloud seeding," an MFA spokesman said.
"One Chinook helicopter with one 5,000 litre heli-bucket under-slung, will also be made available. This Chinook will be used for the aerial fire-fighting and water-bombing efforts. The heli-bucket will be operated by a Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) from the SCDF."
In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Singapore Armed Forces' Chinook "stands ready, and will be able to take off once the Indonesians' approval is given".
Singapore has also offered to share high resolution satellite pictures and hotspot coordinates with Indonesian authorities.