Indonesia's Environment Ministry said the warming effect of El Niño could exacerbate forest fires and cause droughts throughout 2015, The Jakarta Post reported.
El Niño, expected to hit Indonesia in December 2014, had contributed to forest fires in Riau and haze five times during the last 10 years, a ministry official said. Forest fires in Riau are common. During February and March this year, forest fire-related diseases affected over 53,000 people. Financial losses during the months were pegged at 10 trillion Indonesian rupiahs ($845 million).