Singapore deployed a Chinook helicopter and 34 armed forces personnel in Sumatra, Indonesia Saturday to contain the forest fires that shrouded the two countries bordering with Malaysia in haze, according to reports. Malaysian crews reached Indonesia Friday to launch water bombing in southern Sumatra.
"Indonesian authorities provided clearance [to Singapore] last night. This morning a Chinook and two C-130s took off ferrying men and equipment to fight the fires in Palembang [in Sumatra]," Ng Eng Hen, Singapore’s defense minister said Saturday on Facebook.
About 25,000 Indonesian personnel and aircraft were deployed to fight the blaze, however, the firefighters have been weighed down by the extent of the blazes, Agence France-Presse reported.
The Indonesian government initially insisted that it would not accept help from other countries to battle the forest fires. However, the South Asian country Thursday sought help from Singapore, Russia, Malaysia and Japan to put out the fires, an annual phenomenon in the country. Australia also vowed to send a Lockheed L100 Hercules Air Tanker to fight the blaze.
The choking haze killed a 28-day-old baby in Palembang, the result of its suffering an acute respiratory infection, the Jakarta Post reported Friday. Local health officials said that the lung infection was cause by inhaling the haze. Similar respiratory infections have landed 19 babies in hospitals across Sumatra, the report added.