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Home Lao Chinese

Baby girl and elderly man reported to have died because of haze in Sumatra

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) -- A baby girl and an elderly man reported to have died because of haze in Sumatra province of Indonesia.
At least two people, including an infant, are reported to have died as a result of the worsening haze situation in South Sumatra, prompting five NGOs to accuse the government of committing a serious breach of human rights for failing to control the fires in Sumatra as well as in Kalimantan.

The haze has spread to Malaysia and Singapore, renewing fears of a repeat of the disaster in 2015.

A four-month old baby girl, whose parents are farmers living in Talang Bulu village in Banyuasin regency, in South Sumatra, died on Sunday (Sept 15) at Ar-Rasyid hospital in the provincial capital of Palembang, news website Kompas.com reported.
The infant girl suffered a severe respiratory problem before being rushed to the Palembang hospital, about one and a half hours drive from her home.
Another news website Republika.co.id reported that a 59-year old man, who lived in Pekanbaru, was found dead on August 25, sitting against a tree in thick smog in his plantation.
“So many basic rights have been breached - rights to have access to clean air, health, mobility without restraint and education,” Yati Andriani, the coordinator of Kontras, told reporters.
“This is not just about the haze blocking visibility.”
The NGOs demanded that the government of President Joko Widodo disclose a full list of companies and their concessions where plantation fires were spotted to promote transparent accountability, and to provide an ample emergency response to residents affected by the choking haze.
Joko, who is popularly known as Jokowi, visited Pekanbaru in Riau province on Monday to check on the impact of the haze and held a coordination meeting to better tackle the situation.
He ordered his ministers and relevant officials to not let the current condition to worsen.
“However small a fire is, quickly put it out. We have a network of officials all the way down to the village level. Whenever a fire emerged, we should have detected it, ” Joko said in the coordination meeting.
National police chief Tito Karnavian, who took a chopper ride above Pelalawan regency in Riau province, said it was apparent that the fires were deliberately started.
He said only forested areas were burning and those containing oil palm plantation and other cultivation such as pulp-wood trees remained intact.
“This indicates the burning was intended,” Dr Tito was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the disaster management agency BNPB.
The statement on Monday also cited a report by the Pelalawan regent that 80 per cent of burnt forested areas were usually converted into oil palm plantations and other crops. Pekanbaru’s PM10 pollutant standard index (PSI) hit 200 points at 8am on Monday, before rising to 264 (very unhealthy) at 2pm. The reading surged to 385 at 8pm.


(Latest UpdateSeptember 19, 2019)


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