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Thousands of Fires Caused by Dry Spell in Malaysia

Posted by feww on February 26, 2014

EXTREME CLIMATIC EVENTS
DRY SPELL
LARGE SWARMS OF WILDFIRES
WATER FAMINE
“STATE OF CRISIS”
.

Water rationing enforced as thousands of wildfires plague Malaysia

The state of Selangor, Malaysia’s wealthiest state, began water rationing on Tuesday as their reservoirs dipped to critically low levels.

“We pledge that every consumer will receive water, but it will be rationed to ensure supply every two days,” the state chief minister was reported as saying.

“In a week, consumers will receive water for four days.”

Meanwhile, authorities revealed more than 7,000 forest and bushfires had been reported throughout the country since early February, five times the normal.

The state of Negeri Sembilan, near the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, has already declared a “state of crisis” due to water shortage.

“In peninsular Malaysia, 15 areas have not had rainfall in more than 20 days, with some of them dry for more than a month, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department. The dry weather is expected to run for another two weeks,” reported Reuters.

SEA 30-day precip anomalies
SE Asia 30-day precipitation anomaly (mm) for 27 Jan. – 25 Feb. 2014. Source: cpc.ncep.noaa

Singapore

The city-state of Singapore has experienced its longest dry spell on record, between January 13  and  February 8,  and has received little rain since.

Authorities say the dry weather contributed to the death of fish stocks at offshore aquaculture facilities. More than 160 tons of fish have perished recently due to a lack of oxygen in the water.

Indonesia

Governor of Riau declared a province-wide state of emergency as forest-clearing fires raged out of control due to drought.

Smog caused by record air pollution has enveloped a large region of Sumatra, forcing the pollutants standard index (PSI) to climb to a hazardous 778, and prompting authorities to close schools and urge residents to stay at home.

Forest-Clearing Fires in Indonesia

Many of the fires, started intentionally to clear the forests, have been raging since early February, engulfing forests in six provinces on Sumatra Island.

smoke rises from burning forest
Smoke rises from a burning forest in Sumatra. Credit: Antara/FB Anggoro. Image may be subject to copyright.

Satellite images showed more than 700 hotspots in Sumatra alone on February 15, nearly twice the number the previous day, with at least 600 of the blazes in Riau Province , said a report.

“We have asked the central government to help with fighting fires by sending aircraft,” said the newly-sworn-in governor of Riau.

“If it’s just helicopters, we won’t be able to cope.”

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