All Aircraft for Artificial Rain Ready in Pekanbaru: Coordinating Minister
Date 17 September 2019
The Government is taking great efforts to combat forest and land fires, especially in Riau Province. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto has said that all aircraft for artificial rain are currently stationed in Pekanbaru.
“Two CASSA from the Indonesian Air Force, CN-235 and one Hercules are stationed. The aircraft are ready and are loaded with salt. Every time there are reports of clouds, they will fly to make artificial rain,” Wiranto said in a press conference after a Limited Cabinet Meeting on Handling Forest and Land Fires, at the Novotel Hotel, Pekanbaru, Riau, Monday (16/9).
If artificial rain cannot be used because there are no clouds, the Minister added, water bombing will be conducted by land forces since they can reach villages and urban areas. If transportation infrastructure is not available, the one and only option is water bombing by helicopter.
Wiranto added that 71,000 flight sorties have been conducted, with about 200,000,000 million liters of water. If the forest fire continues, the Government will deploy more personnel. “(The Government) will deploy troops of the TNI, add police personnel and ground troops, as well as deploy Manggala Agni team,” he said.
The Coordinating Minister went on to say that rain is pivotal to stop the fire. If there is no rain, artificial rain is needed. He added that the artificial rain needs airplanes, salt, and specific clouds.
“The cloud must contain approximately 70% of water, then the plane will add salt (to the clouds). In West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, the cloud does not yet exist. In Riau, it begins to exist,” he explained, adding that all aircraft used to create artificial rain are stationed in Pekanbaru.
Answering questions from the journalists who compared the current forest and land fires with those of previous years, Wiranto said that the Government has conducted the standardized planned efforts. He went on to say that El Nino and long dry season have worsened this year’s forest fire.
“The extraordinary dryness makes it easier for fire to spread. Based on our research, the percentage of human-made fire is higher than natural fire,” Wiranto said.
He further said that law enforcement measures have been carried out in 2015, with more than 370 companies prosecuted. In 2019, 103 companies in Riau have become the subject of legal proceedings conducted by the Regional Police and Ministry of the Environment and Forestry and 49 companies have been forced to stop their operation.
“Today we arrest other perpetrators of forest fire in Tesso Nilo. There are three of them. Now, they face legal proceedings in law Enforcement Office in Pekanbaru,” Wiranto said. (UN/RSF/RAH/ES)
Translated by: Ridwan Ibadurrohman
Edited by: Mia Medyana