Dozens hos­pi­tal­ized as thick haze spreads in In­done­sia

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Young chil­dren lie in hos­pi­tal in Aceh prov­ince, In­done­sia, as thick smoke caused by for­est fires forces dozens of peo­ple to be treated for lung in­fec­tions. Some school­child­ren were still able to go to school in Meulaboh yes­ter­day wear­ing masks but sev­eral schools sus­pended classes so stu­dents could stay at home. In the past week, about 35 hotspotscon­cen­tra­tions of fires-have de­stroyed 70 hectares of forests and other land in Aceh, the na­tional dis­as­ter agency said.

“The land fires have been caused by peo­ple who clear their land by the tra­di­tional slash and burn method, so the fire spreads,” na­tional dis­as­ter agency spokesman Su­topo Purno Nu­groho said. Peo­ple are ad­vised to mon­i­tor their land and not to slash and burn, es­pe­cially since the cur­rent dry sea­son makes it easy for for­est fires to es­ca­late, Nu­groho added. Au­thor­i­ties are try­ing to put out the blazes and have warned of an es­ca­lat­ing threat of for­est fires with the dry sea­son ex­pected to con­tinue for sev­eral months.

The haze is an an­nual prob­lem in In­done­sia caused by fires set in for­est and on car­bon-rich peat­land in In­done­sia to clear land for palm oil and pulp­wood plan­ta­tions. —AFP

IN­DONE­SIA: Acehnese school­child­ren clad in masks wait for their bus to school while shrouded in thick smoke due to peat for­est fires in Meulaboh, Aceh prov­ince.—AFP

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