Haze blamed for over 100,000 deaths
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