By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Sept 20: The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) together with Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) are now preparing to carry out cloud-seeding operations in Sarawak today.
Air quality in several parts of the state has deteriorated with Sri Aman still at hazardous level over the last few days due to smog from forest fires in neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, in a press conference at RMAF Kuching airbase, revealed that the locations identified for cloud-seeding operations were Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Saratok, Sarikei, Kanowit, Mukah and Lundu.
The operations will be conducted together with the RMAF, Kuching Water Board (KWB), Department of Works, Civil Defence Force (APM) and National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA).
The C-130 aircraft is scheduled to take off from RMAF Kuching airbase at 1pm today.
“The operations will start today until Sept 22. We hope that this cloud-seeding operations are effective in easing the haze situation. But again, it (the operation) all depends on the clouds availability,” he explained.
“If the (haze) situation does not improve in the next few days, we will deploy the Bombardier aircraft to do water bombing again,” he assured.
Two days ago, the Bombardier aircraft could not conduct water bombing in Sri Aman due to difficulty in obtaining water from the Batang Lupar River.
Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba)’s helicopter was also ordered to return to its base in Miri due to poor visibility.
Uggah also disclosed that the number of hotspots in Kalimantan has increased from over 400 yesterday to 788 today.
“This is not a good message for Sarawak. On top of that, the wind from Kalimantan is coming towards our direction,” he said.
“Sarawak have nine hotspots today but we can easily tackle from our own side because we have mobilised as many agencies as we can to assist,” he added.
Sarawak Disaster Management Committee secretariat chief Major Ismail Mahedin and MetMalaysia Sarawak deputy director Siniarovina Urban Sinyaw were present.— DayakDaily