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Sumatra haze heads toward Singapore, Malaysia

Publication Date : 26-06-2014

 

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said haze from forest and land fires in Sumatra has started to move toward Singapore and Malaysia.

Mega Sirait, head of the agency’s Kuala Namu data section, said the potential for the haze to reach Singapore and Malaysia had increased as the number of hotspots was also rising, while the wind was heading in an east-northeast direction.

“This has to be watched and the hotspots have to be addressed too. Otherwise, the haze will spread to Singapore and Malaysia,” Sirait said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has called for immediate action by Indonesia to extinguish and prevent further land and forest fires in central Sumatra, which are responsible for the cross-border haze.

Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the call was expressed to Indonesia in a letter written by  Natural Resources and Environment Ministry director general Datuk Halimah Hassan to her counterpart at the Environment Ministry in Indonesia.

“The letter was to express Malaysia’s concern about the increase in the number of hotspots causing the haze in the peninsula since June 22,” he said in a statement on Tuesday, as quoted by thestar.com.

According to Terra and Aqua satellite observations, there were 386 hotspots across Sumatra as of Wednesday, with some 95 percent located in Riau’s regions of Rokan Hilir (221 hotspots), Dumai (59), Bengkalis (57), Pelalawan (19), Inhil (3), Kuansing (3), Meranti (2), Siak (1) and Inhu (1).

Others were spotted in the North Sumatran regencies of Mandailing Natal, Labuhanbatu and Karo.

Separately, Batam BMKG head Philip Mustamu revealed the wind’s movement was from the southeast to south with a velocity of between 5 and 25 kilometers per hour.

“Such conditions are known to carry haze originating from Riau toward Riau Islands, including neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, which will certainly take place in the near future,” Philip told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.


 

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