Indonesian province declare haze emergency as API exceeds 500

Indonesia's Riau province has declared a haze emergency as the Air Pollutant Index (API) in the region exceeded the 500 mark.

Riau governor Syamsuar declared the state of emergency, which runs from Monday (Sep 23) until Oct 31. The air quality in Riau and Jambi provinces in Indonesia has been categorised as very unhealthy since Sep 13.

An API reading of 301 and above falls into the hazardous category.

About 280 Malaysian students in Pekanbaru and Jambi will be evacuated following the declaration of a state of emergency, according to Malaysia's National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA). Of these, 160 students will return to Malaysia while 120 will be evacuated to Malaysia Hall in Jakarta, said the disaster management agency.

In all, 183 students will be evacuated from Pekanbaru and 97 from Jambi.

Forest and peat fires in Indonesia have caused haze to neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia in recent weeks.

Schools in Malaysia were closed when air quality entered the unhealthy range while some flights have been cancelled due to poor visibility.