Haze still bad on Sumatra, Kalimantan islands

Haze still bad on Sumatra, Kalimantan islands

4 October 2006

published by www.thejakartapost.com

Jambi, Antara — Haze in Sumatra and Kalimantan were still bad Wednesday because firefighters failed to extinguish fires occurred in large parts of forests on the two islands.

Because of a short vision — less than 300 –, a motorist crashed against buffaloes in Sungai Abang village, Jambi province, according to Antara news agency Wednesday.

In Riau, a satellite could monitor 570 hotspots across the province satellite.

Meanwhile, air quality deteriorated in two Malaysian states on Borneo or Kalimantan. Officials blamed on the worsening forest fires in the Indonesian provinces.

Unhealthy air quality was reported in eight districts of Sarawak state and one town in neighboring Sabah state, the Department of Environment said on its Web site.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department said visibility Wednesday morning was between 0.6 to 3 kilometers (less than 0.5 mile to 2 miles) in Sabah and Sarawak, a drastic drop from the normal visibility of more than 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Data from 13 of its 40 measuring stations in other parts of the country showed the visibility was below 5 kilometers (3 miles).

A spokeswoman at the Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, declined to say whether respiratory complaints have gone up with the deteriorating air quality. There was also no immediate word on whether flights have been affectedby the low visibility.

An officer at the Meteorological Department said the smoky skies over Kuching and nearby towns of Samarahan and Sri Aman were due to fires in neighboring Indonesia’s Kalimantan province, which borders Sarawak.

“There were more than 424 hot spots in satellite images over Kalimantan,” he said. “There are a few, very few, fire spots in Sarawak, but the bulk of the fires are in Kalimantan, near Sarawak.”

In Central Kalimantan, thick haze caused the cancellation of several local flights Tuesday. The haze also disrupted the effort of fire fighters to extinguished forest fires.


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