Authorities have declared a state of emergency in the province of Riau from Monday, September 23, until Thursday, October 31. The measure, which was taken following the Air Pollution Index (API) reaching the hazardous level of 700 in Pekambaru (Riau) on Sunday, September 22, triggered the repatriation of 306 Malaysian students from the provinces of Riau and Jambi. The Malaysian government stressed that repatriation could be extended to all Malaysian citizens present in the emergency area.
Cloud seeding operations have been conducted in the two provinces, which has somewhat improved air quality in most areas, including in Pekambaru (with an API reading of 40 at 16:00 [local time]); unhealthy air quality levels were, however, still recorded in Jabungtibur (179) as of Wednesday, September 25.
On Monday, September 23, 33 flights were canceled due to low visibility in Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport (PKU). Further transportation disruption are to be expected as haze continues to impact both provinces.
The ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center (ASMC) has forecast rainfall to ease the haze in the coming days, however the situation may persist in some areas.
Indonesia frequently experiences air pollution (haze) caused by forest fires between June to October. Large-scale forest and agricultural fires ongoing in Sumatra and Borneo islands have caused severed hazy conditions (dust, smoke, and vapor) in the past few weeks, leading to transportation disruptions and casualties.
An API reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, and 101-200 unhealthy.
Individuals present in Indonesia are advised to monitor Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS) updates and health advisories issued by the Indonesian Department of Environment. Seek medical assistance if needed and confirm flight reservations.
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