JAKARTA: Indonesia is preparing warships as a last resort to evacuate children and
others suffering from smoke inhalation from slash-and-burn fires, a minister said
on Friday, as the country struggles to contain fires expected to continue for
Russia’s Be200 water-bomber has been successful. Similar aircraft assistance from
Canada, United States and France has been sought.
Meanwhile, the fires are spreading to new areas like Papua and are
unlikely to be put out till next year, according to experts. There are fires every
year but this year they have been helped by drier weather brought by the El Nino.
Air pollution has reached hazardous levels across Southeast Asia. Schools were
closed and flights disrupted.
In Bangi, Indonesian minister counsellor Freddy M Panggabean told an UKM meet
that Indonesia needs more equipment and not firemen to put out the forest fires.
He wanted water-bombing aircraft to fly over the hundreds of fires emitting haze
in Malaysia. “From the beginning, we never required any personnel (or) staff
assistance to help with this haze problem because we have enough. What we
need (is) the equipment and aircraft with the bigger capacity to carry water (of
more than) 6,000 (litres),” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur air in 27 areas in the country was still recorded unhealthy o
Saturday by the Department of Environment (DOE). The states in the northern part
of peninsular Malaysia are still recovering from the pllution. In Penang, the API in
all three stations in the state continues to record unhealthy readings.
According to reports, university students are wearing face masks in the university
compound although some were practising football amidst the haze in USM field. In
Kedah, the API remained at unhealthy levels with over readings of over 100.
According to the Department of Environment (DOE) website, Sungai Petani in
Kedah recorded the highest API readings at 111, followed by Kangar and Langkawi
at 110 and Alor Star at 106. The API readings for Alor Star, Langkawi showed
The Department of Environment's (DOE) portal said: Pasir Gudang recorded the
highest Air Pollutant Index (API) reading at 154, followed by Kota Tinggi (147);
Port Klang (140); Larkin Lama and Shah Alam (137); Kuala Selangor (127);
Putrajaya (126); Banting and Bandaraya Malacca (125); Bukit Rambai (124); and
Petaling Jaya (123).
Other areas: Seremban (122); Nilai and Cheras, Kuala Lumpur (117); Port Dickson
(116); Tanjung Malim (115); USM (113); Kangar, Muar and Bakar Arang, Alor Setar
(111); Langkawi and Seberang Jaya (110); SMK Tanjung Chat, Kota Baru (108);
Alor Star (105); SK Jalan Pegoh, Ipoh (102); and Seri Manjung (101).
October 24, 2015