The Jakarta Post
Schools in Siak regency, Riau province, have sent home students as haze reached levels dangerous to human health. The schools are scheduled to remain closed until Saturday.
'All schools from early age to senior high are temporary closed. The teachers are expected to remain at school,' said head of Siak Education Agency Kadri Yafis on Thursday, adding that school is expected to start again on Monday. 'Hopefully, the haze will disappear. But if it does not, we will make a decision later.'
He advised parents to keep their children indoors due to the hazardous haze. Some parents welcomed the decision although it was made only on Thursday after many children were already in school.
'We have reached the schools, but the teachers sent the students home. They received a circular from the education agency about the temporary closures,' said Salman, one of the parents of an elementary school student in Biak.
Meanwhile, the Rokan Hulu Disaster Management head Aceng Herdiana said that 16 districts in the regency were also badly affected by the haze and smoke on Thursday, affecting flights to and from Tuanku Tambusai Pasirpangaraian airport in the regency. 'A Wings Air's plane was forced to delay its departure for 90 minutes due to low visibility,' Aceng said.
Meanwhile, head of Pekanbaru's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that the haze that is covering several regencies in Riau province came from forest fires in other provinces in Sumatra.
According to Terra and Aqua satellite, there are 178 hotspots across Sumatra, five of which are in Riau. South Sumatra with 80 hotspots is the worst province, followed by Jambi with 69 hotspots, Bangka Belitung with 10 hotspots, Lampung with six hotspots, West Sumatra and Bengkulu both with three and Aceh with two.
Meanwhile, Riau acting Governor Arsyadjuliandi Rachman has planned to prolong the haze emergency status in his province that has been in effect since April and was to expire on Aug. 31. 'The forest fires in Riau have declined significantly, but haze is still covering Riau due to smoke from other provinces. The emergency status may be prolonged until Sept. 30,' he added. (bbn)
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