International Asia No haze in Malaysia, Singapore yet as Indonesia battles peat fires in...

No haze in Malaysia, Singapore yet as Indonesia battles peat fires in seven provinces facing drought

The authorities have so far contained the situation but with prolonged heat, there are fears that hazy days may be back in Malaysia and Singapore

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Leading palm oil players in Indonesia will see a hit in palm production capacity in the short to medium term. The world’s top grower of the edible oil is facing drought across major planting regions.

This will delay fruit ripening, resulting in lower output, says Reuters.

Indonesia is facing a prolonged dry season that left seven provinces in the country affected by severe drought. The situation in West Jaya, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara is serious, say news reports.

Jakarta and Banten are also feeling the effects of the drought.

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The drought has hit large parts of the archipelago and is from a mild El Nino that is disrupting the dry season. The number of hotspots has also been increasing, says the news agency.

The El Nino, a warming of the Eastern Pacific Ocean waters, brings dry weather across Southeast Asia.

It usually hit palm production in both Indonesia and Malaysia.

The national meteorology centre, BMKG (Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) predicts that the peak of the dry season will last from August to September 2019.

“The start of the rainy season is predicted to occur in early November 2019. This drought is also expected to expand,” says the agency.

The long dry season is to peak in October. It began in April and is seen as a serious disaster for the affected people.

The agency states that, 63 million litres of water have been distributed to a number of regions. Especially for areas that have emergency response status and are severely affected by drought.

The Indonesian authorities are also stepping up efforts to battle forest fires as the number of hot spots has climbed steadily in the past weeks.

Smoke blanketed parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan. So far, it did not make its way towards Malaysia and Singapore.

Smoke was detected in the provinces of Riau, which is close to Singapore, West Kalimantan, which shares a land border with Malaysia, and Central Kalimantan.

In 2015, raging fires in Riau and parts of Sumatra spread choking haze into parts of Singapore and Malaysia for over a month, sparking protests from both countries.

This long dry season is expected to peak in October, which had already begun in April. -/TISG

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