World

Southern Thailand hit by the worst haze from Indonesia ever; pollution reaches hazardous level

  • Indonesian women are silhouetted against the city skyline which is shrouded by the haze from forest fires, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Southern Thailand was hit Thursday by the most severe haze ever from forest fires in Indonesia, forcing all schools in a province to close and disrupting flights in a popular tourist area, officials said. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

    Indonesian women are silhouetted against the city skyline which is shrouded by the haze from forest fires, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Southern Thailand was hit Thursday by the most severe haze ever from forest fires in Indonesia, forcing all schools in a province to close and disrupting flights in a popular tourist area, officials said. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indonesian soldiers who are deployed to help containing massive forest and land fires that have caused widespread haze in parts of Southeast Asia, disembark from an military cargo plane upon arrival at the airbase in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Southern Thailand was hit Thursday by the most severe haze ever from forest fires in Indonesia, forcing all schools in a province to close and disrupting flights in a popular tourist area, officials said. (AP Photo/Bagus Kurniawan)

    Indonesian soldiers who are deployed to help containing massive forest and land fires that have caused widespread haze in parts of Southeast Asia, disembark from an military cargo plane upon arrival at the airbase in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Southern Thailand was hit Thursday by the most severe haze ever from forest fires in Indonesia, forcing all schools in a province to close and disrupting flights in a popular tourist area, officials said. (AP Photo/Bagus Kurniawan)  (The Associated Press)

Officials say the southern parts of Thailand have been hit by the most severe haze ever from forest fires in Indonesia, forcing all schools in a province to close and disrupting flights at a popular tourist area.

They said haze that has shrouded parts of Malaysia and Singapore for nearly two months reached hazardous levels in southern Thailand, with the pollution index hitting a record high of 365 in the city of Songkhla on Thursday. A reading below 50 is good, 201-300 is very unhealthy and above 300 is hazardous.

Southern Environment Office head Halem Jemarican called it "a crisis." He said the pollution index in southern Thailand has never exceeded 300 before.