Government prepares water bombs to mitigate Riau haze

The haze disaster in the Riau Province had affected the activities and health of 37,500 people in the last six weeks, causing them to suffer from respiratory infections.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will drop water bombs in several hotspots to mitigate haze from land fires in the Riau Province on Friday.

"We will deploy Hercules C-130 from Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Base to drop water bombs in several hotspots in Riau," the Chief of Information of National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said here on Thursday.

The haze had spread to another city outside the Riau Province, Padang City in West Sumatra Province, and disrupted several flight schedules.

"The visibility range in the Sultan Syarif Kasim II of Pekanbaru City decreased from 500 meters on the morning to 300 meters in the afternoon," he said.

The haze also affected the air quality in Pekanbaru, which caused respiratory diseases.

"The people who suffered from respiratory diseases had increased. The preliminary report from the local health sub-official noted that at least 49,591 people suffered from these illnesses, due to haze," Sutopo said.

Sutopo added that the thick haze also affected the operation of weather modification and water bombing efforts.

"The government effort to mitigate the hotspots by dropping water bombs was hampered as the haze affected the visibility range of the airplane," he added.

He said the government hoped the haze would decrease so that the water bombing flight can be operated.

The haze disaster in the Riau Province had affected the activities and health of 37,500 people in the last six weeks, causing them to suffer from respiratory infections.

There are tens of flight schedules from and bound for Pekanbaru that have been delayed or canceled due to haze.

The Riau province had suffered a loss estimated at Rp10 trillion due to haze from forest and plantation fires.

Riau provincial administration had declared a state of emergency, following the expanding forest and plantation fires, mostly set deliberately to clear land for new plantations. (*)

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