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Indonesia struggles against illegal forest fires

Saturday, June 22, 2013 - 00:36

June 22 - Indonesia's government battles to put out illegal forest fires on the island of Sumatra which have caused heavy air pollution in the region. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Indonesia deploys the military to fight raging forest fires on the island of Sumatra started by illegal burning, which has brought on one of Southeast Asia's worst ever air-pollution crises. Indonesia's Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan visited Dumai district in Riau province on Saturday and briefed the firefighters, soldiers, police forces and community members helping to battle the flames. Neighbouring Singapore's pollution index climbed back to "hazardous" levels and air quality deteriorated in the Malaysian capital on Saturday as Indonesia came under increasing pressure to bring fires from slash-and-burn land clearing under control. The Indonesian government, which said it would take action against anyone responsible for the disaster, has singled out eight companies for blame and is expected to add more names to this list. Indonesia has earmarked around 200 billion rupiah (20 million USD) to handle the disaster. Illegal burning of forest and other land on Sumatra typically takes place during the June to September dry season in order to clear land for palm oil plantations. This year's fires are unusually widespread and the hazy smog is the worst in nearby Singapore's history.

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Indonesia struggles against illegal forest fires

Saturday, June 22, 2013 - 00:36