News / Asia

Indonesia Deploys Aircraft to Fight Fires as Haze Spreads

Singapore PM: Haze from Indonesia Could Blanket City for Weeksi
X
June 20, 2013 11:24 PM
Singapore's prime minister says record high air pollution caused by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia may continue to smother the city-state for weeks or months. VOA's Michael Lipin reports on how Singaporeans are coping with the haze that began afflicting the city on Monday, and how the Singaporean and Indonesian governments are responding to the problem.
VOA News
Indonesia is deploying helicopters to help battle raging fires that have choked Singapore with a record-setting thick haze of smoke for a third consecutive day.

Along with water-bombing the out-of-control fires, aircraft will also be used in the coming days to seed clouds in a desperate attempt to create rain to douse the flames.

Singapore's air pollution standards index soared to another record high Friday afternoon, reaching a level that can severely harm people with respiratory problems. Parts of nearby Malaysia have also suffered from the extreme air pollution.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Thursday the haze that began afflicting the city-state Monday could persist until the end of the dry season on Indonesia's Sumatra Island in September or October.

Singapore's National Environment Agency chief Andrew Tan has called on Indonesia to take "decisive action" against companies suspected of burning forests on Sumatra as a cheap way of clearing land.

However, Indonesian Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono criticized Singapore's reaction to the haze, accusing the city-state of acting like a "child."

Some residents wore face masks as they walked to and from work, but many stores sold out of the items, leaving other people to cover their mouths with handkerchiefs or tissues.

The smell of burned wood was so strong that it even permeated the city's underground train system. Many Singaporeans chose to stay at home and use social media to air their complaints about Indonesia's role in the smog.

Indonesia has defended its response, saying it is investigating companies suspected of setting the fires and trying to educate plantation owners about alternatives to traditional burning methods.
  • A family rides on a motorcycle as the haze hits Kubu district in Rokan Hilir, Indonesia, June 25, 2013.
  • A resident tries to extinguish a fire burning on peatland in Pekanbaru of Riau province June 24, 2013.
  • Villagers sit on their motorcycles as they get ready to leave their homes as a fire burns a palm oil plantation in Bangko Pusako district, Indonesia, June 22, 2013.
  • Villagers ride a motorcycle in haze in Dumai, Indonesia, June 21, 2013.
  • Volunteers prepare new face masks to give to residents in Dumai, Indonesia, June 21, 2013.
  • The Singapore Central Business District skyline covered with a thick haze, June 21, 2013.
  • A street vendor is seen wearing a face mask in Dumai, Indonesia, June 21, 2013.
  • Office workers walk through a haze blanketing the Singapore Central Business District, June 20, 2013.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid