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Malaysia's waterbomber ready for Sumatra mission as haze worsens

PETALING JAYA (Malaysia) — As the haze continued to worsen air quality in the Klang Valley, the government said on Sunday (Aug 21) that it was prepared to deploy its firefighting aerial waterbomber to assist Indonesian authorities tackle forest fires there.

Malaysia's waterbomber ready for Sumatra mission as haze worsens

Hardest hit at Shah Alam with API reading at a moderate 86 at 3pm, Malaysia, Aug 21, 2016. Photo: The Malay Mail Online

PETALING JAYA (Malaysia) — As the haze continued to worsen air quality in the Klang Valley, the government said on Sunday (Aug 21) that it was prepared to deploy its firefighting aerial waterbomber to assist Indonesian authorities tackle forest fires there.

“We are prepared to send our Bombardier aircraft to Sumatra to help put out the forest fires that have been responsible for the cross-border haze,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr Shahidan Kassim said.

He said the National Security Council was in a state of full preparedness to assist in the operation.

“We did the same last year. This year, we are just waiting for the request (from Indonesia),” he said.

Dr Shahidan said the use of the Bombardier aircraft was more efficient as it was able to deliver massive quantities of water to suppress forest fires, and Malaysia was the only country in Asia to have the aircraft.

Deploying the Canadian manufactured firefighting plane would be an added assistance to Indonesian air force aircraft and Bell 412 helicopter presently involved in waterbombing exercises.

Air quality in the Klang Valley deteriorated slightly on Sunday with several areas recording “moderate” Air Pollutant Index (API) levels.

The Department of Environment’s API reading for Shah Alam rose from 71 at noon to 86 at 3pm.

Other areas which showed moderate API readings at 3pm were Cheras and Batu Muda (77), Petaling Jaya (61) and Klang (69).

According to Malaysia's Department of Environment, an API reading of between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; between 51 and 100, moderate; between 101 and 200, unhealthy; between 201 and 300, very unhealthy; and more than 301, hazardous. 

The Malaysian Meteorological Department said on its website visibility in Petaling Jaya was 6km at 3pm.

Malacca was worst hit when visibility was recorded at 1km at 8am before improving to 4km at 3pm.

The lower visibility was attributed to forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

According to the Indonesian National Institute of Aerospace, 167 hotspots were detected on Saturday, with 154 in Kalimantan and 13 in Sumatra. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

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