Thais offer to train forest firefighters

Thais offer to train forest firefighters

31 January 2007

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Thailand — Thailand is ready if asked to send forest firefighters to helptrain their Indonesian counterparts if it is asked. Chatree Chueyprasit, deputypermanent secretary to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, saidThailand’s firefighters are among the most skillful in the region, thanks tointensive training.

”We are willing to organise a training programme for Indonesian forestfire-fighting units if the country wants us to do so,” Mr Chatree said. ”Theoffer is part of Asean cooperation to tackle trans-boundary haze which has posedserious problems.”

In order to cope better with forest fires, Asean countries should combinetheir strengths to enhance firefighting capabilities and mitigate the problem oftrans-boundary haze pollution, he said.

Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, and southern Thailand have been badly affectedby haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia, especially in Sumatra andKalimantan. Last year, during the 10th Asean Ministerial Meeting on theEnvironment in the Philippines, the member countries agreed to set up an AseanHaze Fund to deal with the problem.

However, Mr Chatree said contributions from the countries have beeninadequate and called on them to comply with an agreement on trans-boundary haze.

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