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Jakarta Post

Baby dies of smog-related illness as tens of thousands more suffer

  • Ivany Atina Arbi, Rizki Fachriansyah and Yulia Savitri

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta/Palembang   /   Mon, September 16, 2019   /  10:10 pm
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Peatland burns in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. Uncontrolled peat fires can spread for kilometers underground and by air, causing a deadly smog. In 2015, this resulted in one of the greatest environmental disasters of the 21st century.(JP/Björn Vaughn)

Forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan that have blanketed the provinces with smog for weeks and affected the health of thousands of people in nearby regions, as well as air quality in neighboring countries, took an added toll on Sunday when a 4-month-old infant named Elsa Fitaloka reportedly died of pneumonia and meningitis. “The haze particles can be the medium to spread the bacteria that can cause the infection,” said the director of Ar-Rasyid Hospital in South Sumatra, Toni Siguntang. The infant had received some medical treatment from the hospital before her condition worsened over the weekend. The Indonesian Health Ministry recorded that 106,550 patients in Palembang in South Sumatra, 61,147 in Jambi city, 23,324 in Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan patients and 9,512 in Pekanbaru in Riau were suffering from acute respiratory infections (ISPA) caused by the smog ...