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Southeast Asia

A fog of suffocating smoke settles over the Indonesian countryside, sickening hundreds of thousands of people and triggering an environmental crisis.

In Peru, officials abandon plans to host the lucrative Dakar Rally and prepare instead for torrential rains and devastating floods.

Read more: El Niño causes a plethora of climate changes

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SMOKED: This 2013 photo of a peat fire near the Raja Musa Forest Reserve in Selangor, Malaysia is similar to what is happening in Indonesia right now. In such cases the fires are below the surface, where the peat is smoldering.

People in parts of Southeast Asia are struggling to breathe. Huge fires are burning out of control and a noxious yellow haze is hanging in the air. The majority of these fires are burning in Indonesia, but the smoke has been drifting across the neighboring countries of Singapore and Malaysia, affecting the health of millions of residents.

Read more: Huge fires and yellow haze in Southeast Asia

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Without a concerted global effort, climate change could force over 100 million people back into extreme poverty by 2030. (Image: World Bank)

Climate change has the potential to push over 100 million people back into extreme poverty by 2030, says a new World Bank report, with Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia being hit the hardest. However, there is also a way to prevent this, the authors emphasize.

Read more: Climate change may push 100 million people back into poverty by 2030

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UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing fires on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Papua:

“UNEP has observed with increasing alarm the spread of forest and peat fires on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Papua. We are deeply concerned about the effects these fires are having not only on the health of local populations, ecosystems and wildlife, but the global climate as well.

Read more: Statement of UNEP on Southeast Asian Fires

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