June 24, 2020, 12.52 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – President Joko Widodo has urged the preparation of countermeasures against the annual forest fires that plagued Indonesia, and the rest of Southeast Asia, at the start of the dry season.

The president’s call to be prepared comes, as the government continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging Indonesia.

Putting out the fires

Speaking to governors, mayors and regional security chiefs during a virtual limited cabinet meeting on Tuesday, June 24, the president called on them to prepare countermeasures to mitigate the forest fires.

“The Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics Agency [BMKG] said 55 percent of Indonesia has entered the dry season in April and May” said Jokowi. “The dry season will start in another 27 percent of the country this June.”

Entering a critical period

The president urged that the fires be put out before they started to get out of control. “The authorities should check all potential hotspots before they spread” he said. “The forest fires are expected to peak this August, so we have over a month to prepare countermeasures."

Also read: President Jokowi Focuses on 3 Provinces Hit Hard by Covid-19

President Jokowi urged the use of technology in combating the fires. “The Riau Regional Police are among those who effectively used technology and telecommunications to monitor hotspots” he said. “We also should use [police and military] units on the ground.”

The danger for Covid-19 patients

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