Haze blamed for over 100,000 deaths

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE -

JAKARTA: A smog out­break in South­east Asia last year may have caused over 100,000 pre­ma­ture deaths, ac­cord­ing to a new study re­leased yes­ter­day that trig­gered calls for ac­tion to tackle the “killer haze”.

Re­searchers from Har­vard and Columbia uni­ver­si­ties in the US es­ti­mated there were more than 90,000 early deaths in In­done­sia in ar­eas clos­est to haze-belch­ing fires, and sev­eral thou­sand more in neigh­bour­ing Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia.

The new es­ti­mate, reached us­ing a com­plex an­a­lyt­i­cal model, is far higher than the pre­vi­ous of­fi­cial death toll given by au­thor­i­ties of just 19 deaths in In­done­sia.

“If noth­ing changes, this killer haze will carry on tak­ing a ter­ri­ble toll, year af­ter year,” said Green­peace In­done­sia for­est cam­paigner Yuyun In­dradi.

“Fail­ure to act im­me­di­ately to stem the loss of life would be a crime.” – AFP

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