- Severe sandstorms in Iraq once again covered the capital, Baghdad, with orange fog.
- In Syria, storms caused a number of deaths: in eastern Syria, seven people died, including two children.
- Storms should subside as of Monday evening — but meteorologists expect more sandstorms in the coming months.
In Iraq, renewed sandstorms have caused breathing difficulties for hundreds of people. The Iraqi Ministry of Health announced the treatment of 2,000 patients in hospitals. High winds uprooted trees and caused power outages in Deir al-Sour Governorate.
The Intergovernmental News Agency (INA) reported that ambulances are deployed across the country to help people at risk of suffocation. She added that if needed, patients would be resuscitated on site amid the sandstorm. It was not known how many people were actually infected.
Sandstorms are common in Iraq
Sandstorms are common in Iraq. Strong northwesterly winds blow in the desert region, especially in the summer, blowing on the flood plains of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. At the same time, the country is increasingly suffering from drought, having last year suffered one of the worst droughts in decades. In addition to climate change, misguided water policy is to blame. Dust particles significantly degrade air quality.
Flights were temporarily suspended at the airport in the southern city of Najaf. In the same severe sandstorm, hospitals in Iraq have recorded more than 5,000 patients with breathing difficulties in the past few weeks.
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