More than 700 fires have been identified in one of the Indonesian provinces where Save the Orangutan runs several projects. The air pollution may worsen the corona crisis in Indonesia.

The Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan, where Save the Orangutan runs several projects, has now declared state of emergency after 700 fires have been registered. This was reported by Reuters News Agency.

“The fires are a major issue every year, they challenge our work and have major consequences for both the forest, animals and people. It is very unusual that a state of emergency is declared already in early July,” says Hanne Gürtler, Secretary General of Save the Orangutan.

Indonesia is severely affected by the corona crisis which could lead to the fires causing a much bigger health impact this year.

“The forest fires increases air pollution, and we fear it may worsen the situation of those infected with COVID-19 in a country where infection rates are already increasing,” says Hanne Gürtler.

Save the Orangutan, together with partner organizations, have initiated several efforts in Borneo in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the local communities and the orangutans. In addition, we work with partner organizations and local communities every year to prevent fires in high-risk areas as well as help with extinguishing fires.

Every year during the dry season, fires ravage Borneo as a result of clearing and burning of forest areas to make space for plantations. These fires during the dry season can be difficult to control, and they often spread and cause problems for people and animals. Additionally, the fires destroy large areas of the rainforest. In 2019, 1.6 million hectares of forest and peat lands burned down.

The state of emergency is currently declared until September 28th.

(Photo: BPI (arkivbild))