Haze spreads; DOH readies face masks

The Health department said Thursday it is preparing to distribute protective equipment to the public should the haze from the forest fires in Indonesia continue to spread to the Philippines.

HURTFUL HAZE. Indonesian Muslims wear protective masks as they perform a mass prayer for rain on a hazy day in Palembang on Wednesday. Indonesia has arrested nearly 200 people over vast forest fires ripping across the archipelago, with police saying toxic haze sends air quality levels plummeting and sparking flight cancellations. AFP
“The Department of Health is pre-positioning supplies including masks if needed, Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in an ambush interview.

“We are monitoring the air quality if it is already beyond acceptable levels, if it is already hazardous.”

Domingo said children and the elderly, especially those with lung diseases, were more vulnerable to particulate matters from haze.

The haze from Indonesia has already reached Tawi-Tawi, parts of Palawan, Koronadal City and Metro Cebu over the past several days.

According to GMA resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz, the southwest monsoon is drawing the smoke from the forest fires in Indonesia toward the Philippines.

“If the monsoon winds spread, there’s a big potential that we will be affected by the smoke,” Cruz said.

The Health department earlier warned affected residents to wear face masks outdoors and to consult a doctor should they experience breathing problems.

Topics: Department of Health , Haze , Eric Domingo , Air hazard
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