S'pore NGO takes 25,000 masks to Central Kalimantan where PSI is 1,500
S'pore NGO distributes 25,000 masks, helps educate locals in Central Kalimantan
Smoky air, yellow skies and a PSI of 1,500.
That is what non-governmental organisation Relief.sg's (RSG) chief executive Jonathan How and four other Singaporeans have experienced over the last few days.
On Sunday, the team of five flew into the thick of the haze of Palangkaraya, the capital of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan.
They were there to distribute N95 masks to the locals and educate them on how to use the masks.
Arriving with them at Palangkaraya's Tjilik Riwut Airport were a whopping 25,111 N95 masks, packed in 86 boxes. The masks were collected by RSG and "Let's Help Kalimantan", a mask collection initiative.
One of the trio behind the initiative, Ms Cheryl Lie, 31, who is in the education industry, was also part of the team of five.
The air freight costs were borne by Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air, Mr How, 43, said.
On their first day, with the help of local volunteers, the Singapore team distributed the masks at the University of Palangkaraya in the city centre, and the village of Bereng Bengkel.
The next day, they went to the Kameloh Baru village, as well as the College of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, where they handed over 1,000 masks to health workers.
The health workers will distribute the masks to children and pregnant women at primary care outpatient clinics.
In his two days spent in the thick of the haze, Mr How saw for himself a lack of awareness of wearing N95 masks.
Despite the hazy conditions, most residents went around unprotected.
"We saw kids playing unmasked, totally oblivious to the haze surrounding them. Men were seen playing strenuous sports like basketball and volleyball without masks at all," he told The New Paper.
Mr How acknowledged that mask distribution is a short-term solution, but that will not stop him and his team from such relief efforts.
"While we will continue to raise support for the distribution of masks, we are exploring other possible ways to help mitigate the situation by identifying and supporting longer-term solutions that deal with issues like forest fire-fighting and peatland management," he added.
Ms Cheryl Lie, one of the people behind the "Let's Help Kalimantan" mask collection initiative, distributing masks to motorists.
FOR KIDS, TOO: Mr Jonathan How helping a child put on a mask.
ON THE FRONT LINE: Firefighters in Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province, wearing N95 masks provided by the Singapore team.
24-hour PSI in moderate range today
The 24-hour PSI in Singapore was in the moderate range last night and will stay in that range today, said the National Environment Agency.
Given the air quality forecast, everyone can continue with normal activities today, the agency said in an advisory on its website yesterday evening.
Those who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.