Senin , 05 May 2014, 19:31 WIB

PMI allocates one helicopter for Riau's office

Red: Julkifli Marbun
Jusuf Kalla (Republika/Agung Supriyanto)
Jusuf Kalla (Republika/Agung Supriyanto)

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, PEKANBARU -- Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Jusuf Kalla had allocated one helicopter to the PMI branch in Riau province to help smooth its humanitarian missions.

"Riau is one of the eight provinces that needs helicopters, because it is vast and often faces disasters," Jusuf Kalla told the press after installing the PMI Riau's news executives in the PMI building here on Monday.

He said the helicopter was expected to help PMI Riau to carry out its social and humanitarian tasks.

Kalla said the allocation of the helicopter was a follow-up of handling annual forest fires that often created haze and pollution in Riau province.
"When it will arrive and begin operation, we will wait and see," Kalla, who was also a former vice president, noted.

He said, however, the helicopter was not a grant but will be placed there for use until the conditions returned to normal and Riau was free from land fires and smoke.

The former vice president pointed out that Riau deserved national assistance, such as helicopters, owing to forest fires that had been occurring there for dozens of years. The disasters had claimed the lives of people and thousands suffered from respiratory problems.

Newly-appointed PMI Riau chief Syahril Abubakar asserted that his staff was ready to carry out humanitarian missions.

Riau Governor Annas Maamun, meanwhile, stressed that members of his office were ready to support the PMI Riau, which will shortly operate a helicopter.

"If PMI provides a helicopter, we will provide fuel for its operation," the governor said.

Forest and land fires occurring in the Riau Province between February-April 2014 caused economic losses worth more than Rp20 trillion, as per data furnished by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

"It should be kept in mind that once the fires break out, it will be difficult to extinguish them and they can cause large losses," BNPB Chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho recently stated here.

The haze disaster triggered by the fires disrupted around 30 percent of the economic activities and caused monetary losses in Riau.

The BNPB had spent around Rp164 billion or one-third of its budget to deal with the fires nationally.

The fires also caused environmental damage as more than 21.9 thousand hectares of forest and plantation areas were gutted by the fires.

The haze also affected the health of several residents in Riau and the neighboring provinces, such as in West and North Sumatra.

The largest loss caused by forest and land fires in Indonesia was in 1997, when fires wiped out millions of hectares of forest and plantation areas and caused losses worth US$2.45 billion.

Sumber : Antara

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