Haze in Sumatra reportedly kills baby girl, elderly man

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) – A baby girl and an elderly man are reported to have died because of the haze in Sumatra province of Indonesia.

At least two people, including an infant, are reported to have died as a result of the worsening haze situation in South Sumatra, prompting five non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to accuse the government of committing a serious breach of human rights for failing to control the fires in Sumatra as well as in Kalimantan.

A four-month old baby girl, whose parents are farmers living in Talang Bulu village in Banyuasin regency, in South Sumatra, died last Sunday at Ar-Rasyid hospital in the provincial capital of Palembang, news website Kompas.com reported.

The infant girl suffered a severe respiratory problem before being rushed to the Palembang hospital, about one and a half hours drive from her home.

Another news website Republika.co.id reported that a 59-year old man, who lived in Pekanbaru, was found dead on August 25, sitting against a tree in thick smog in his plantation. “So many basic rights have been breached – rights to have access to clean air, health, mobility without restraint and education,” Coordinator of Kontras Yati Andriani told reporters.

The NGOs demanded that the government of President Joko Widodo disclose a full list of companies and their concessions where plantation fires were spotted to promote transparent accountability, and to provide an ample emergency response to residents affected by the choking haze.