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Jakarta Post

Residents flee Riau amid unbearable smog from forest fires

  • Apriadi Gunawan, Jon Afrizal and Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Medan/Jambi/Jakarta   /   Wed, September 18, 2019   /  09:07 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Local authorities work together to put out land and forest fires in Merbau village of Bunut district, Pelalawan regency, Riau, on Tuesday.(Antara/Puspa Perwitasari)

Fatimahtuzzuhra El-Karim and her family have abandoned their house in a residential area of Kampar regency, Riau, and fled to the city of Binjai in North Sumatra over concerns for their health, as hazardous smog from widespread forest fires is spreading uncontrollably. The 26-year-old said she had been staying at her parents’ house in Binjai for the past three weeks together with her husband and their 1.5-year-old son. “We have taken shelter at my parents’ house, because the smog was unbearable. We will only go back home once the air is clear,” she said on Tuesday. Fatimah said this was the worst smog she had experienced over the past two years, or since they moved to the Puri Indah Kualu housing complex in Tambang district, located some 3 kilometers from one of the hot spots in the province. She said many of her neighbors had also left to stay with r...