15/10/2019 11:34 AM

By Mohd Shukri Ishak

JAKARTA, Oct 14 -- The Air Pollutant Index (API) reading in the Palembang city in South Sumatra has reached 921, the worst ever registered in the area.

The current haze situation has caused visibility to drop to less than 150 metres and resulted in the closure of schools in the city which has a population of 1.5 million.

Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency's Centre of Data, Information and Public Relations head Agus Wibowo said the agency had deployed more than 8,000 personnel to put out forest fires and seven helicopters to conduct water bombing and cloud seeding operations.

"A total of 691 hotspots have been detected in the province, the highest among other provinces such as Riau, Jambi and several parts of Kalimantan," he said in a statement issued today.

Agus said the worsening haze was due to the high volume of smoke brought in by winds from areas of Sumatra and Kalimantan that were seriously affected by the fire.

Last month, the winds from the northwest had brought the smoke haze from Kalimantan as well as Sumatra affecting several neighbouring countries.

Over 300,000 hectares of forests and plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan have been destroyed by fires since January.

According to local media, flights at the Sultan Mahmud Badarudin II Airport, Palembang were delayed this morning due to poor visibility caused by the haze.


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