Calling the efforts of Singapore’s firefighting team in Indonesia “almost a futile exercise”, Singapore Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said that by the time the Singapore team landed in Indoensia, the disaster have deterioriated to the point where not even a rain would help.
Singapore’s firefighters put ou 50 hotspots in their two week stint in Indonesia but according to Minister Masagos, the area covered was “miniscule”. Minister Masagos then proposed that international assistance be standardized at an early stage so the situation could be nipped in the bud at the early stage:
“But because they were called in so late and the peat fire has spread out so much, this is minuscule, the area they were given is really minuscule to the amount that everybody has to put out. And nothing short of act of God like rain can really stop this fire altogether. And therefore, one of the things we have resolved, (is) there should be an appropriate alert level with which any party which is affected by forest fire should get help, and that, together in the region, we can gather assets to put out the fire early so that it becomes an effective way of working together. This was not something we achieved in this current haze episode, almost a futile exercise but a discovery, nonetheless, that when help comes too late, it does not help at all.”
Minister Masagos also responded to the Indonesian Minister Luhut’s comments which said that Singapore’s offer of one aircraft was insulting:
“It’s not about how many assets you put there. It’s how effective you can be and how early you can get activated, as well as how many other countries can contribute to make this a regionally sound way of addressing issues like this.”