Smoke from forest fires shrouds the slopes of Mount Kerinci in Kerinci Seblat National Park, in Sumatra’s Jambi province. (Antara Photo/Wahdi Septiawan)

Joko Postpones Haze-Hit Jambi Trip, Will Visit W. Sumatra Palace Instead


OCTOBER 08, 2015

Jakarta. Decreasing visibility levels due to thickening haze in Jambi has forced President Joko Widodo to postpone his trip to the province to Saturday.

The president will instead visit the Bung Hatta Palace in Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatra, said Bey Mahmuddin, head of the state press bureau.

After two previous cancellations, Joko and first lady Iriana Joko Widodo were set to leave for Jambi on Thursday morning, but deteriorating air conditions in the province forced them to change course.

Joko will on Friday fly to Riau, Bey added.

Riau has been the hardest hit by toxic smog since the haze crisis began, with more than 200 forest fires detected across the province.

The provincial capital Pekanbaru reported on Thursday morning that visibility in the area dropped to as low as 50 meters.

"[Joko's] schedule, therefore, is still tentative, depending on the weather," Bey said as quoted by state news agency Antara.

Joko was planning to visit patients suffering from acute respiratory ailments at hospitals in Jambi before observing fire extinguishing efforts in the province on Thursday.

Data from Indonesia's climate agency showed that the air pollution index in Jambi reached 392 as of 11 a.m. Any reading that surpasses 350 is considered hazardous.