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Haze update: Long-awaited rain in Dumai on Sunday

Published on Jun 23, 2013 12:43 PM

The long-awaited rain finally came this morning in Dumai.

The downpour lasted for 30 minutes, said Mr Heru Widodo, the head of Weather Modification team at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology.

"The rain fell in Bukit Kapur in Pelingtung, Dumai," said Mr Heru.

Bukit Kapur is a plantation area on the outskirts of Dumai, the coastal city closest to many of the fires causing the haze that has been shrouding neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

Cloud-seeding and water bombing efforts will continue for the second day on Sunday in Riau, after a state of emergency was declared in the province on Friday.

"We will be carrying out our operations in two batches today," Colonel Andyawan M P, the commander of Pekanbaru Air Force base, told reporters from the air base on Sunday morning.

"An Air Force Hercules C130 will be used for cloud-seeding and hopefully we can carry out cloud-seeding above Bengkalis and Pelalawan, provided there are suitable clouds above. Otherwise we will just go for any clouds that we see."

The aircraft is scheduled to take off at 1pm local time today (2pm Singapore time).

"For water bombing, we need to be closer to the ground and we will be using helicopters," said Col Andyawan.

He added that water bombing is planned to be carried out in Mandau on Sunday, where clear skies have been reported. Mandau is 30 miles (48.3km) from Pekabaru. The operations will not last longer than five hours.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) to take over fire extinguishing efforts in Riau, after local firefighters struggled to put out the fire in the plantations.

The fire which has been burning for over two weeks, has created serious air pollution in parts of South-east Asia in the past one week, with a 492 Pollutant Standard Index reported in Dumai on Friday. The hot spots have been concentrated in Dumai city and regencies of Rokan Hilir and Bengkalis.