Crisis claims 19 lives in Indonesia

An Indonesian woman riding a motorbike amid thick yellow haze in Palangkaraya, Kalimantan, on Oct 23 2015.
An Indonesian woman riding a motorbike amid thick yellow haze in Palangkaraya, Kalimantan, on Oct 23 2015.PHOTO: EPA

The transboundary haze crisis has claimed 19 lives, with infants, teenagers and an elderly woman among the dead.

Indonesia's Social Affairs Minister Kofifah Indar Parawansa said yesterday that the fatalities were reported in Kalimantan and Sumatra, with the latter region accounting for 11 of the deaths so far. All 19 had lung infections, purportedly after breathing in the toxic air in their hometowns, where Pollutant Standards Index readings regularly hit four digits.

The number of patients treated for haze-related illnesses across the two regions has also breached the 500,000 mark, with 503,874 people said to be suffering from acute respiratory infections, or what the local authorities call ISPA.

Francis Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'Crisis claims 19 lives in Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe