The Bell 206L helicopter, which will be used by the South Kalimantan forest and land fires task force, was handed over at Syamsuddin Noor Airbase, Banjarmasin, on Tuesday.
"With the helicopter, the task force's response will be faster and more effective in tackling forest and land fires," head of the South Kalimantan Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), R. Suria Fadliansyah, said.
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The provision of the assistance is in keeping with the directive issued by the Governor of South Kalimantan, H. Sahbirin Noor, who is expecting rapid handling of the land and forest fires, he added.
“(Let’s) protect the forests in South Kalimantan from fires. Our forests are the lungs of the world. Letting our forests get burnt is no different from damaging the environment," he remarked.
He emphasized that the establishment of the task force shows the provincial government’s seriousness, sincerity, and readiness to respond quickly to disasters.
The helicopter will continue to be in service in the province until the government revokes the emergency status for forest and land fires.
The South Kalimantan provincial government earlier declared an emergency status for haze pollution caused by forest and land fires in the region from June 15 to November 15, 2022.
This was a follow-up to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG’s) press release, which said that the dry season in Indonesia began in July and will peak in August.
Hence, the provincial government issued a circular on May 31 to the mayors and heads of districts across the province to anticipate forest and land fires.
In addition, a coordination meeting to mitigate the two disasters was held at the headquarters of the Regional Secretariat of South Kalimantan province in Banjarbaru city.