Singapore health officials have warned that air pollution is at hazardous, record-high levels due to peatland wildfires in neighboring Indonesia. In a bid to quell a diplomatic row, Jakarta has sent helicopters to ‘seed’ rainclouds over the blaze.
Smoke from the raging fires in Indonesia is choking millions of Singaporeans, whose daily life has been disrupted by a thickening blanket of haze that has resulted in record-high air pollution in the city-state. An air quality monitor say the pollution is now life-threatening for the seriously ill and the elderly.
Two Indonesian helicopters were sent from the capital Jakarta and Borneo Island to Riau province, where they will attempt to ‘seed’ clouds and cause rainfall over hundreds of hectares of burning peatland.
The move was announced Friday morning after an emergency meeting the previous night in which Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered disaster officials to "immediately mobilize all the country's resources" to extinguish the fires.
Earlier on Tuesday, Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono said the success of the effort would depend on whether there are clouds present above the wildfires.