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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid