Channel NewsAsia

Singapore offers haze assistance to Indonesia, Malaysia

Aircraft for fire-fighting and cloud seeding among some of the resources offered to the country's neighbours in the run up to the upcoming traditional dry season. 

SINGAPORE: In anticipation of the upcoming dry season, Singapore will offer assistance to Indonesia and Malaysia to help its neighbours suppress fires, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said on Tuesday (June 10).

MEWR stated the assistance package offered to Indonesia is the same as offered in previous years, namely:

  • One C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations;
  • Up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry fire-fighting assistance teams from Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF);
  • A team from SCDF to provide assessment and planning assistance to their Indonesian counterparts in fire-fighting efforts; and
  • High-resolution satellite pictures and hotspot coordinates

The ministry said haze from land and forest fires during the traditional dry season from June to October has been a "perennial problem" in the southern Southeast Asia region in the past decade. This is mainly due to illegal land clearing and "slash and burn" agricultural practices in Indonesia, particularly Sumatra and Kalimantan, it said.

Singapore experienced its worst episode of haze last year when the three-hour PSI hit a record high of 401 on June 21, 2013.

"In the run up to the upcoming dry season, the Singapore Government has offered the Indonesian Government assistance to help combat possible land and forest fires. We hope this will help to prevent another episode of severe haze in the region," MEWR said.

It added that Singapore was also affected by transboundary smoke haze from Malaysia earlier in March, when the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) entered the "Moderate" range and reached a high of 75 on March 12. Assistance was offered to the Malaysian Government to help combat land and forest fires should such a need arise, the ministry said.

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