Firefighters try to put out a peatland fire in Puding near Jambi on the island of Sumatra on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Wahdi Septiawan)
Hazed and Confused
BY :ANTARA PHOTO
SEPTEMBER 17, 2019
Major cities on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra – including Palangkaraya, Ogan Ilir, Pekanbaru, Padang, Banjarmasin and Pontianak – have been covered in smoke and haze from forest fires since August.
Firefighters have been joined by Army soldiers to try to put out the fires for more than a month with little result.
The Meteorology and Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said visibility in Palembang was down to a dangerous 600 meters.
Extreme haze forced closure of schools and local hospitals are inundated by patients with respiratory complaints.
Oxygen "shelters" have been established in Pekanbaru, Riau, to help children suffering from breathing difficulties because of the smoke and haze.
A peatland fire that refused to go out for several days in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan, also destroyed homes and shops.
The Indonesian government has been criticized for acting less than decisively in containing the fires.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, accompanied by his ministers and other top officials, visited Pekanbaru on Monday to see the fire damage for himself.
A total of 151,862 forest fire spots have been recorded in Indonesia so far this year, the highest ever in history.