Haze makes over 300,000 Indonesians get sick hinh anh 1Forest fire in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra province (Photo: Reuters/VNA) 
More than 300,000 Indonesians were reportedly suffering from respiratory illnesses due to the worsening haze conditions in the dry season, Indonesia’s Ministry of Health announced on October 6.

Minister Nila Moeloek disclosed that the number of patients with respiratory ailments jumped by almost 20 percent since the fires raged in Sumatra and Borneo islands last September.

South Sumatra, whose population is larger than the other five haze-affected provinces , recorded the largest number of patients (over 83,000).

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered a number of measures to mitigate the haze risk on public health.

The Health Ministry has sent medicines and protective gears to locals in the hardest-hit islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

Big air operations, involving helicopters, planes and thousands of soldiers, were launched to stop forest fires that have sent haze to neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, which closed many schools on October 5-6.

However, dry weather, the vastness of affected territories and lack of water have hampered the operation.-VNA