Poor visibility hinders bombardier water bombing ops in Sri Aman

Uggah (centre) in an emergency meeting with several agencies head.

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By Nancy Nais

SRI AMAN, Sept 18: The water bombing operations by the CL 415 Bombardier aircraft was not successful today due to limited visibility and dubious water sources.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), in a statement, said the aircraft was deployed to do water bombings in three hotspots areas in Sri Aman.

“Due to the low visibility, they could not drop any water despite flying for two-and-a-half hours. So today’s operation is more on observing the fire and surrounding areas,” the statement continued.

Earlier in the morning, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said efforts to extinguish the fires were being intensified to reduce the severity of the haze in the division, which is now the worst affected area in the state.

“Sri Aman division recorded the most hazardous air quality at 395 on the Air Pollutant Index (API) yesterday afternoon,” Uggah said after a meeting with the authorities.

State Fire and Rescue director Khirudin Drahman, Department of Environment (DOE) director Justin Jok, MMEA deputy director Hamiludin Che Awang and Major Ismail Mahedin from the Civil Defence Force were present.

Uggah, who is also the chairman of the State Disaster Management Committee, said DOE will temporarily move the API station from SK Kuala Baram, Miri, to Serian district police station.

“DOE will also put in their request for new API stations to be based in Bau, Lundu and Betong,” he added.

Speaking to reporters after the handing over of Sarawak flag to Bomba FAREX team today, Khirudin said 17 firefighters from Kuching were deployed to assist in the operations. Seven additional excavators were sent to create fire breaks at Kampung STC Sri Aman, Tisak Betong Road and the Kejatau Sri Aman Road areas.

Meanwhile, according to Ismail, the air quality in Sri Aman and Kuching were at a very unhealthy level at 228 and 217 respectively, as at 7pm.

Other areas recorded unhealthy readings were Samarahan (193), Sarikei (188), Sibu (191), Mukah (160), Bintulu (135), Samalaju (113), Miri (133) and ILP Miri (122).

Limbang, Kapit and SK Kuala Baram II recorded moderate readings at 84, 82 and 93 respectively.

An API reading of 0 to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100 moderate; 101 to 200 unhealthy; 201 to 300 very unhealthy, and 300 and above, hazardous. — DayakDaily