Riau governor announces state of emergency after air pollution surges

Riau governor announces state of emergency after air pollution surges

Smoke shrouded a street in Pekanbaru on Monday ( ANTARA FOTO/Rony Muharrman/kye/15)

We will look at the development. We hope the condition will change, and rain will fall soon
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Riau Governor Syamsuar has declared a state of emergency over air pollution caused by land and forest fires in the province.

"Starting today, we impose a state of emergency over air pollution in Riau Province," he stated on Monday morning.

The state of emergency will be valid from September 23 to October 31, and if the condition remains unchanged, it will be extended, he revealed.

"We will look at the development. We hope the condition would change, and rain will soon fall," he noted.

Syamsuar, who is also commander of the Riau provincial land and forest fire control task force, stated that the provincial government will soon ready places to evacuate residents susceptible to the impact of air pollution.

"Children, pregnant women, and senior citizens ailing from asthma will be referred to the hospital," he stated.

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The haze situation in Riau has, over the past three days, been deteriorating. On Monday morning, thick smoke shrouded the Riau provincial capital of Pekanbaru.

The deteriorating air quality has left some citizens with no choice but to evacuate to other cities along with their families.

"We decided to evacuate to Jakarta, as we cannot stand the haze (in Pekanbaru)," Sylviawati, a 27-year-old resident, had stated at the Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru last Friday.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) station in Pekanbaru had spotted 1,591 hotspots indicative of forest fires across Sumatra Island at 6 a.m. local time on Monday.

South Sumatra recorded the highest number of hotspots, reaching 675, followed by 505 in Jambi and 256 in Riau.

The thick smoke caused visibility in Pekanbaru to fall to 500 meters on Monday morning.

Related news: Smog from forest fires could kill indirectly: BNPB
Related news: Pekanbaru's 21 health service posts ready to serve haze victims


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