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Photo: Jakarta Post

Haze to lessen in November, says Indonesian weather agency

Photo: Jakarta Post
Photo: Jakarta Post

The haze which has affected the region is expected to lessen in November, said Andi Eka Sakya, the head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Indonesia.

The Jakarta Post cited him on Wednesday as having said that while hot spots could still be found in several regions in the country, the number has decreased.

The newspaper says that forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan “have been estimated to end in November due to rain that started to fall at the end of October.”

“On Wednesday morning, the Terra and Aqua satellites reportedly detected 10 hot spots in Sumatra, 82 in Kalimantan, 40 in Sulawesi, 37 in Nusa Tenggara and nine in East Java. As for Maluku and Papua, only five hot spots were found,” the Jakarta Post reported.

Mr Andi said that rain is estimated to “fall more evenly” in several regions in November and this would help lessen the haze.

However, other experts cautioned last week that the haze could persist into the new year and that the fires were unlikely to be put out in the next two months.

"Maybe it will last until December and January," Dr Herry Purnomo of the Centre for International Forestry Research told Reuters then.

Dr Purnomo explained that here were also hot spots in Papua, a region usually spared such fires, because "people are opening new agriculture areas, like palm oil".

Also on Wednesday, the Indonesia Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, said he has instructed government agencies to focus on cloud seeding operations “for the next four days in order to intensify the downpours to combat forest fires causing the haze disaster.”

Mr Luhut urged BMKG and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) to collaborate to create artificial downpours every time “the correct type of clouds appeared in the sky.”

“We should use every chance we have to perform cloud seeding operations,” the minister said. “Downpours in hot spots and haze-affected areas are really helpful for our mitigation efforts.”

According to Luhut, if the cloud seeding operations were performed effectively in the next four days, thick haze in the affected regions would be reduced.

He also expressed confidence that the government would be able to “fully tackle” the situation “in the next few weeks.”

On Monday, the Indonesian government was reported to be considering declaring a state of national emergency because of the worsening situation. (See here: "Problem too big, Indonesia may declare national emergency: reports".)

Reports say that so far, some 12,000 people in the country have sought medical attention and 19 people have died because of the haze. The death toll is also reported to be climbing.