Palangka Raya, October 19th, 2019 - For more than three months, all we saw in Kalimantan was the grey sky and no sunlight, More than 78,000 hotspots (according to LAPAN) blaze all over Kalimantan since June. The haze can even make the surroundings look blank-white, giving us very low visibility and extremely high concentration of dangerous fine particles PM 2.5 to breathe in.
Starting from early October, the number of forest fires in Palangka Raya decreases. It's not as many as it was in September, as the rainy season starts and the air quality is getting better too. We still open our Haze Shelter for the public. It's starting to change from the emergency response period into the relief period. It's only the beginning of October but as many as 145 people came to our haze shelter (in September we had over 500 people) to get fresh air, oxygen, and masks also visitors received free medical check-ups + medicines from our volunteer paramedics and doctors. Medical check-up post haze is very important as the effect of inhaling haze might just start to be felt, our health service at haze shelter is held every day (until the 30th of October).
Our haze shelter made it possible for the Palangka Raya citizens to be safe from the haze. How about the villagers outside the city? Along with the volunteers, we were able to conduct free health care for several remote villages that have lacked access to basic health-care services. Because of the medicine donations we received and the fundings to purchase more, bringing medicines to the village was made possible. This month we went to Talekoi, Bundar, and Tahawa Village. All three villages don't have any hospital nor doctor. In total, 227 people got health treatment. Most of them are children and elders who experience smoke-related illnesses such as flu, cough, shortness of breath, and cephalgia.
Battling in the front line means facing the fires. KATUYUNG (Our Youth Firefighter Squad’s codename) consists of 7 young locals, with ages ranging from 18 to 25 years old. It can take several days to put out the seemingly never-ending fires in one hotspot because fires also raged underground and spread very fast, Katuyung members take shifts to make it possible for extinguishing the fires 5 times a week. For example, Maulana Razaqi who is still in high school firefights on the weekend & university student Esperanza Oktavia goes on days she has no class. Sacrifices are made indeed. These brave souls are willing to spare their time and risk their health.
Non-stop forest fire and haze relief efforts need to be done. Non-stop forest fire and haze relief efforts need to be done. Everyone must not stay and do nothing, we must put in any kind of effort in this emergency! Through our Youth Act campaign, we rally local youths to walk in courage at the frontline where the battle is happening and do what we can do, even though we are just ordinary people. We frequently go to areas outside the capital city to distribute respirators. Over the last two weeks, we've distributed 6.082 N95 masks in 9 villages of 4 regencies in Central Kalimantan.
Also, we would like to acknowledge:
Wally Tham & BIG RED BUTTON SG that designed our haze shelter, set it up with us, and funded it from 2016 and recently came back to support the setting up of second haze shelter.
KOPERNIK that supports our Haze Relief Efforts with supplies and funding to create more haze shelter at schools and public areas in Kalimantan.
TRAVELOKA and their users, that donated to us through exchanging points in their program Traveloka Tanggap for Palangka Raya.
RAINFOREST 4 FOUNDATION AUS and their supporters, who donated since April 2019. You can visit their website at www.Rainforest4.org
OTHER DONORS that we can't mention by name but have trusted us to protect Kalimantan people and the forests.
All the relief efforts mentioned are made possible because of the hardworking volunteers, with the support of the donations we received - from all over Indonesia and even other countries. We sincerely thank you all of the donors. Thank you very much, from Ranu Welum Foundation & Youth Act Kalimantan
The fight is not over. We will never give up to protect what is left.