President cancels visits to Riau, Jambi due to thick haze

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo cancelled his visits to Sumatras provinces of Riau and Jambi on Friday morning due to thick haze, according to the commander of the Bukit Barisan military region.

"The presidential aircraft could not land in Jambi just now, and so, it then left for Jakarta," Major General Lodewyk Pusung stated.

He said the president and his entourage were initially scheduled to visit several locations in the two provinces that were affected by the fires.

On Friday morning, thick haze engulfed most of Sumatra, where a total of 1,465 forest and land fires were detected.

"According to the monitoring conducted by the Terra and Aqua satellite this morning, there were 440 more fires. Today, 1,286 out of the 1,465 hotspots were concentrated in South Sumatra," Sugarin, the head of the Pekanbaru office of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, stated.

He stated that there were 63 hotspots in Bangka-Belitung and 41 each in Bengkulu and Lampung.

In the past two days, Riau province had been free of fires, but on Friday, 16 hotspots had been detected there.

Eight of the hotspots were found in Pelalawan district, five in Indragiri Hulu, two in Indragiri Hilir, and one in Siak.

Sugarin stated that the fires had reduced the visibility in Riau, with Rengat in Indragiri Hulu recording a visibility of only 100 meters; Pelalawan 200 meters; Dumai city 1.5 thousand meters; and Pekanbaru four thousand meters.(*)