INDONESIA- PONTIANAK • The Indonesian authorities in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, have ordered temporary school closures as thick haze from forest fires worsened in the city.
Pontianak Mayor Sutarmidji, who goes by one name, announced the school closures on Sunday via his Facebook account.
“I have instructed PAUD (early childhood education centres), kindergarten and elementary schools to close and resume operations on Aug 27. As for junior high schools, students can go back to school on Friday,” he wrote.
The closure applies to all schools that are under regional government supervision.
The West Kalimantan Education and Culture Agency had also issued a circular that called on senior high schools to close from Monday to Thursday in Pontianak and Kubu Raya regency, which are affected by the haze. The agency stated that the closures might be extended, depending on the haze.
National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the number of hot spots detected in West Kalimantan had fallen to 526 by Monday morning.
Last Thursday morning, the BNPB had recorded 1,061 hot spots across the province.
Six helicopters have been deployed to combat the forest fires in the province, a result of slash-and-burn practices to clear agricultural land.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2018, with the headline ‘Schools close as haze worsens in Pontianak’