We have distributed 10 thousand face marks to the public for free
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Some 700 people in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, currently suffer from respiratory illness as haze from forest fires has shrouded the city over the last several days.

The authorities had warned local inhabitants to stay indoor to prevent their health from being impacted by haze, Yohanes, secretary of the Riau Health Office, said here on Sunday.

At least 10 thousand face masks were distributed to motorbikers, drivers and pedestrians.

"We have distributed 10 thousand face marks to the public for free," he said.

Related news: Haze enveloping Pekanbaru compels students to wear face masks

Wati, an inhabitant of Lima Puluh Sub-district, Pekanbaru, said that two of her children had cough over the last two days.

"My first child even has hoarse voice although he did not drink ice at school," she said.

She believed that the health problem was caused by haze coming from forest fires in Pekanbaru and neighboring districts.

Her family members have to wear face masks when they go outside their home.

The smell of smoke was quite strong from early morning until around 9 a.m,, she noted.

She hoped that the authorities could put out the fires and arrested the arsonists.

Related news: Pekanbaru shrouded in haze from forest fire

In the meantime, Indonesia is currently experiencing severe dry spell induced by El Nino phenomenon.

The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 138 hotspots indicating forest fires in eight districts of Riau Province on Saturday morning.

Of the total 138 hotspots in Riau, 93 hotspots were believed to be fire spots, with a confidence level at over 70 percent.

Haze shrouded Pekanbaru, Dumai, and Pelalawan, lowering visibility to four kilometers, Sanya Gautami, analyst of the Pekanbaru meteorology station, remarked here on Saturday.

Of the total hotspots, 67 were spotted in Indragiri Hilir District. Wildfires were reportedly raging across the sub-districts of Keritang, Gaung Anak Serka, Enok, and Batang Tuaka in Indragiri Hilir over this weekend, Gautami revealed.

A total of 23 hotspots were recorded in Pelalawan District, decreasing from over 60 hotspots early this week.

Four hotspots were found in Bengkalis District, nine in Rohan Hilir, 31 in Siak, one each in Kuansing and Kampar, and two in Dumai.

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Translator: Riski Maruto, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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