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Haze emergency declared in Riau after API exceeds 500

A haze emergency has been declared for Riau province as the Air Pollutant Index (API) exceeded the 500 mark.

Riau Governor, Syamsuar declared the emergency status beginning yesterday until Oct 31.

Quoting the local media, Syamsuar said the Riau government now provided temporary evacuation centres which were conducive, especially for children and pregnant women.

Meanwhile, about 280 Malaysian students in Pekanbaru and Jambi, Indonesia, will be evacuated after the state of emergency was declared in Riau, said the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma).

Of these, 160 students will be brought back to Malaysia while 120 will be evacuated to Malaysia Hall in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nadma said in a statement today.

Nadma, Wisma Putra, the Royal Malaysian Air Force and other related bodies met today to discuss the evacuation operations to bring back the 160 Malaysian students in Pekanbaru and Jambi, the agency said.

According to the Malaysian consulate general in Pekanbaru and Education Malaysia Indonesia, the 280 students who have to be evacuated comprise 183 in Pekanbaru and 97 in Jambi.

As of yesterday, the visibility range in these areas was 500 metres, with the Pollution Standards Index (PSI) at 600.

On the haze situation in Malaysia, Nadma said generally it was improving following the transition phase of the monsoon, which began today and will continue until early November.

It said the transition phase meant that the southwest wind which previously blew from the neighbouring country to Malaysia will slowly change direction, and the condition here will improve.

The statement also said as of 8am today, 24 locations recorded an Air Pollutant Index (API) of unhealthy and 44 locations at moderate level.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is categorised as good, 51-100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy) and above 300 (hazardous).

- Bernama

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