Thursday, October 22

Woman perishes in peatland fires

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BANJARMASIN, South Kalimantan: Land fire in South Kalimantan has killed a woman, a villager of Banyu Hirang, Pematang, Subdistrict of Gambut in Banjar District, Antaranews reported.

The victim named Sumiati (40), was killed in the bush fire, said coordinator Mangala Agni (fire-fighting unit) of South Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Zulkarnain here on Thursday.

Sumiati was found dead after Mangala Agni team managed to extinguish the fire that burned land in the area.

“It happened on Sunday (12/10). The victim was caught in the middle of rice fields which dried up and burned. She likely experienced shortness of breath beforehand, because of inhaling thick smoke due to bush fires,” said Zulkarnain.

Efforts to tackle land and bush fires that frequently occur in the dry season had constrained firefighting teams compounded by lack of equipment.

“Not to mention having to deal with people who burned their own land. We have received reports from the public, but they escape when we came,” he said.

During the charge, the team was only able to capture two perpetrators in land burning at Jalan Jeruk, Banjarbaru. Both have been handed over to the police.

Related to land and forest fires, emergency alert have been enacted since 16 September to October 16, 2014. Now it is extended another next 30 days.

Meanwhile, visibility on Thursday (16/10) morning in Banjarmasin and Banjar district only 50-100 meters. This is due to the increasingly dense smog.