Many people in affected areas are suffering from respiratory tract infections. (Antara Photo/F.B. Anggoro)

Six Provinces Declare State of Emergency as Haze Worsens


SEPTEMBER 04, 2015

Jakarta. Six Indonesian provinces have declared a state of emergency as haze from wildfires on Sumatra and Kalimantan continues to blanket entire cities, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Friday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan had all declared haze emergencies.

"There are around 25.6 million Indonesians in Sumatra and Kalimantan who are directly exposed to the haze due to forest fires," the BNPB spokesman said in Jakarta. "They breathe in very unhealthy air, thousands of people are suffering from respiratory tract infections."

Sutopo said that as of Friday morning, no less than 80 percent of Sumatra had been impacted by the smoke to some degree.

"The visibility was less than 500 meters in Pekanbaru and Jambi this morning," he said.

Tri Budiarto, deputy chief for emergency management at BNPB, said that the agency had joined forces with the local administration to build command posts and establish four types of task force in the six provinces.

These four groups would focus on extinguishing fires, law enforcement, educating the public and offering health services to affected communities.