Haze forces 890 schools in Malaysia’s Sarawak to close

According to data released by the Department of Environment Malaysia (DOE), the Air Pollution Index (API) reading in Kuching recorded 272 at 8am (Bernama)

According to data released by the Department of Environment Malaysia (DOE), the Air Pollution Index (API) reading in Kuching recorded 272 at 8am (Bernama)

Kuching: Haze has forced authorities in Sarawak, the largest among Malaysia’s 13 states, to shut down 890 schools in 17 districts.

The decision meant that eight districts were added in one day to the forced shut down list.

According to the state Education Department, the move involved 104 secondary schools and 705 primary schools, affecting 252,237 students, Malaysian news agency BERNAMA reported.

In addition to Betong, Bau, Kuching, Lubok Antu, Padawan, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Lundu, and Kanowit as announced yesterday, the new districts involved with the closures today are Saratok, Simunjan, Kanowit, Maradong, Sibu, Sarikei, Julau, and Daro.

Five districts recorded very unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings – Kuching with API readings of 269, Samarahan (229), Sibu (231), Sarikei (221) and Sri Aman (207).

Five other districts recorded unhealthy API readings, namely, Bintulu (145), Mukah (190), Miri (114), ILP Miri (106) and Samalaju (127), the agency said.

A state of emergency will be called if API readings exceed the 500 mark, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) said.

According to local reports, the areas in the state were badly hit by the transboundary haze and the situation was compounded by local wildfires inside Sarawak.

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