APRIL Unit to Assist Riau Province in Firefighting
Pulp-paper maker signs MOU; will provide training, equipment in Sumatra
PEKANBARU, INDONESIA, 25 JUNE 2014 – A unit of pulp and paper manufacturer APRIL signed a Memorandum of Understanding here today to help government combat forest fires in Sumatra. PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) said it has agreed to provide equipment and training in support of the Riau Province Disaster Mitigation Agency.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Riau Deputy Governor, Arsyad Juliandi Rachman, Director of the Disaster Mitigation Agency and head of the Regency Chiefs Communication Forum (Forkada).
“This signing demonstrates the company’s intent in collaborating on efforts to prevent and mitigate forest fires that pose health and environmental risks,” said RAPP Director Mulia Nauli. “We consider it necessary to work together with the government and we are committed in deploying our resources.”
APRIL, through its Kerinci, Indonesia-based RAPP unit, manages plantations in Riau Province that provide wood for its pulp and paper mill. To prevent the loss of mill wood, the company aggressively combats fires and prohibits burning on its land.
RAPP said its commitment to provincial firefighting efforts will include:
- The use of a company helicopter and water pumps;
- Firefighter training; and
- Development and equipping Fire Alert Communities (Masyarakat Peduli Api) in 30 Riau villages.
The Riau Province Disaster Mitigation Agency said it will conduct joint patrols with RAPP to prevent forest fires.
Riau Deputy Governor Arsyad Juliandi Rachman said RAPP is the only company in Riau province that signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Riau Province Disaster Mitigation Agency on fire and haze prevention.
“The private sector plays an important role in preventing and mitigating forest fire,” Rachman told the press after the signing ceremony on Wednesday, adding that companies are to protect their concession areas from fire.
APRIL operates a round-the-clock fire command center in Kerinci to monitor weather and fire conditions. It deploys three helicopters and more than 700 firefighters to protect plantations and surrounding forests from fires.
Said Saqlul Amri, head of the Riau Province Disaster Mitigation Agency welcomed the cooperation with RAPP in tackling fire and haze in the area.
“We hope other companies would take note and demonstrate similar commitment in finding solutions to the fire and haze problem,” Amri said.
Fires annually pose a threat in heavily forested Sumatra during the dry months of June-to-October. Most are deliberately started to clear land for agriculture. They create dense clouds of haze that blanket skies from Sumatra to Singapore.