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Last Update: 11 Dec 2019
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Secretariat chief: Disaster management committee to meet on haze soon
Posted on : 09 Aug 2019  Source of News: The Borneopost online
 

KUCHING: The Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee is expected to meet soon to discuss action to manage the haze as forest fires increase in the neighbouring Indonesian province of West Kalimantan.

Its secretariat chief Major Ismail Mahedin said the number of hotspots in West Kalimantan had increased from six on Tuesday to 12 on Wednesday, contributing to higher Air Pollution Index (API) readings in the southern region of Sarawak.

“The API reading could deteriorate in Sarawak if the wind blows more smoke from West Kalimantan,” he said when contacted yesterday.

As of 2pm yesterday, the Department of Environment’s website showed that the API reading for Kuching was the highest in the state at 84, which is still moderate.

API reading between zero and 50 is considered good, between 51 and 100 is moderate, from 101 to 200 (unhealthy), between 201 and 300 (very unhealthy) and above 300 is considered hazardous.

Earlier, Ismail said he was uncertain when exactly the committee’s chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas would call the meeting, except that it would be held soon.

“The secretariat’s role is to be ever ready to face any disaster like flood, haze and drought in the state,” Ismail told reporters when met at Politeknik Kuching’s graduation ceremony yesterday.

He also said due to the haze, visibility as at 9am yesterday was 7km for Limbang, and 8km for Sibu, Bintulu and Kuching. Normal visibility is over 10km.

Touching on the forest fire in Miri, Ismail said there was an increase in the number of fires due to strong winds on Wednesday but rain yesterday morning had improved the situation somewhat.

Over 600 hectares of forest and peat soil areas in Kuala Baram, Miri, are currently in flames. Firefighters and volunteers have been battling the blaze for five days but have found little success.