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Indonesia forest fires spark haze warnings in Malaysia

Indonesia forest fires spark haze warnings in Malaysia

Members of the public have been advised to avoid outdoor activities. (Photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: The west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and western Sarawak have begun to experience haze due to forest fires in Indonesia, Malaysia’s Meteorological Department said on Thursday (Aug 1).

The Met agency’s director-general Jailan Simon said the haze will also have an effect on the weather in Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan and Putrajaya in the peninsula, as well as and Kuching, Serian and Samarahan in Sarawak.

"So far 30 to 40 hotspots have been detected in Sumatera and the haze is at the moderate level, but we are monitoring to see if the hotspots will increase to 100.

“This month, we forecast the dry weather and haze to prolong for five days. We advise the people to reduce outdoor activities and avoid open burning,” he told the Bernama news agency.

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Jailan said the department is collaborating with the Indonesian government through the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency to obtain the latest information on the forest fires and hopes that they can be brought under control quickly.

Indonesia has reportedly deployed thousands of military and police personnel to douse the forest fires in Riau, southern Sumatera, Jambi, western Kalimantan, central Kalimantan and southern Kalimantan.

Data released by Malaysia’s Department of Environment showed that the Air Pollutant Index (API) was at an unhealthy level in two areas as of 12pm on Thursday – Rompin in the state of Pahang (104) and Johan Setia in Klang, Selangor (107).

The Malaysian Ministry of Health has cautioned members of the public to cut down on outdoor physical activities.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said such activities would increase breathing and metabolism rates which would lead to haze and hot weather-related illnesses.

He also urged members of the public to wear face masks and use umbrellas as well as wear caps when outdoors. 

"Close all house windows and keep the house clean as well as reduce indoor air pollution by not smoking," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also advised people to drink plenty of water and to seek immediate treatment if they were not well.


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