Typhoons in the Philippines and heavy rains that have caused major flooding in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have failed to head south where rain is sorely needed to douse forest and possibly peat fires that have ensured the annual re-run of the dreaded haze.
Eye tingling and occasionally gut retching, the inability of Indonesia to end the burning off that creates the haze is an unfortunate testament to the centralized powers of Jakarta and a reality check for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in particular Singapore and Malaysia where it is felt most.
In a desperate bid to stamp out the fires, lit to clear land for crops and palm oil plantations, the Indonesian government has begun cloud seeding operations over Sumatra in an attempt to trigger rain and hopefully prevent this year’s blankets of smog enveloping a large chunk of the region.
The seeding will be conducted over 90 days with two Spanish built CAS 212-200 aircraft, deployed after 1,241 hot spots were identified in Sumatra and hundreds more in Kalimantan on Indonesian Borneo.
There are also fears that peat fires might have ignited, which can burn underground for months.