PONTIANAK, INDONESIA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Authorities in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, have ordered temporary school closures, as thick haze from forest fires has worsened in the city.
Pontianak Mayor Sutarmidji announced the school closures on Sunday (Aug 19) via his Facebook account.
"I have instructed PAUD (early childhood education centres), kindergarten and elementary schools to close and resume operations on Aug 27. As for junior high schools, students can go back to school on Friday," he wrote.
The closure applies to all schools that are under regional government supervision.
Meanwhile, the West Kalimantan Education and Culture Agency has issued a circular that calls on senior high schools to close from Monday to Thursday in Pontianak and Kubu Raya regency, which are affected by the haze.
The agency stated that the closures might be extended depending on the haze.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said hotspots detected in West Kalimantan had decreased to 526 by 8.22am local time on Monday. On the morning of Aug 16, the BNPB had recorded 1,061 hotspots across the province.
Six helicopters have been deployed to combat the forest fires in the province, which resulted from employing slash-and-burn practices to clear agricultural land.