Haze in Sarawak expected to clear by end of September

The haze in Sarawak is expected to clear by the end of September, said Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail.

She attributed the current situation to the southwest monsoon which is associated with hot and dry weather, open burning and cross-border haze.

“In this regard, the public in the affected areas are advised to reduce outdoor activities, wear a mask for the mouth and drink lots of water as a precaution,” she told reporters.

She stated this after the opening of the three-day 37th ASEAN Meteorology and Geophysics Sub-Committee Meeting which began here today.

Also present was Science, Technology and Innovation secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Noorul Ainul Mohd Nur who represented minister Datuk Madius Tangau.

Bernama yesterday reported that Sri Aman and Samarahan in Sarawak recorded unhealthy air pollutant index (API) readings of 118, while state capital Kuching recorded 110.

Che Gayah also disclosed that MetMalaysia planned to use the ‘ShakeMap’ system at the end of the year.

She said the system which had been adopted by the United States Geological Survey for research and planning in facing future disasters could provide detailed information on earthquakes such as time, date, location and category.

Meanwhile, Noorul Ainul, citing the Dec 26, 2004 catastrophe in Acheh, Sumatera, Indonesia, which is surrounded by the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, said a comprehensive tsunami warning centre needed to be set up in ASEAN.

She also described the earthquake at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah on June 5 this year as the worst earthquake in Malaysia, “therefore, early measures are needed to monitor earthquake activities and prevent casualities in future”.

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