Newest sandstorm brings Iraq to standstill

A thick cloud of mud blankets the Iraqi capital Baghdad because the eighth sandstorm since mid-April, 2022 paralysed exercise throughout the nation.

One other sandstorm that descended Monday on Iraq despatched not less than 2,000 folks to hospital with respiration issues and led to the closure of airports, colleges and public places of work throughout the nation.

It’s the eighth duststorm since mid-April to hit Iraq, which has been battered by soil degradation, intense droughts and low rainfall linked to local weather change.

The final one earlier this month led to the dying of 1 particular person whereas 5,000 others needed to be hospitalised for respiratory issues.

On Monday a thick cloud of mud enveloped the capital Baghdad in an orange glow and blanketed many different cities together with the Shiite shrine metropolis of Najaf to the south, and Sulaimaniyah, within the northern Kurdish autonomous area, AFP correspondents stated.

Yellow and orange sand coated constructing roofs, vehicles and even crept into houses.

Authorities in seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, together with Baghdad, ordered authorities places of work to close.

However well being amenities remained open to help these most in danger, together with the aged and other people affected by persistent respiratory ailments and coronary heart illnesses.

By noon not less than 2,000 folks have been admitted to hospitals throughout Iraq in want of oxygen, stated well being ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr.

AFP correspondents noticed round 20 sufferers, most of them aged males, at Baghdad’s Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

One in all them was Hadi Saada, 70, mendacity on his facet on a mattress within the intensive care unit hooked to a respirator. He struggled to breathe.

Sufferers affected by respiration issues exacerbated by a heavy mud storm obtain care at Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Iraq’s capital Baghdad on Might 16, 2022.

‘Suffocating from mud’

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“It’s his third time in hospital” because the sandstorms started in April, stated his son Mohammed Saada, including that his father had a coronary heart situation.

One other affected person, Khaled Jassem, 70, was additionally hooked to an oxygen tank.

“We’ve been right here since 8:00 am… My father has a coronary heart ailment, diabetes, hypertension and is suffocating on the mud,” stated his son Walid Jassem.

Not less than 75 folks struggling to breathe have been admitted Monday to Sheikh Zayed, stated Talib Abdelmoneim Nejm, one of many ICU officers.

The sandstorm drastically lowered visibility to simply 300 metres (yards) at Baghdad airport, prompting authorities to shut airspace and halt flights, state-run INA information company reported.

Airports in Najaf and Sulaimaniyah have been additionally closed for the day, the company stated.

Faculties nationwide have been additionally shuttered and finish of 12 months exams postponed to Tuesday. Universities additionally delayed exams.

A patient suffering from breathing problems arrive at Baghdad's Sheikh Zayed Hospital
A affected person affected by respiration issues arrive at Baghdad’s Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

The newest sandstorm was anticipated to step by step dissipate by Monday night, climate providers stated.

The Center East has at all times been battered by mud and sandstorms however they’ve turn out to be extra frequent and intense in recent times.

The pattern has been related to overuse of river water, extra dams, overgrazing and deforestation.

Iraq is wealthy in oil and is understood in Arabic because the land of the 2 rivers—in reference to the legendary Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

However the provide of water has been declining for years and Iraq is classed as one of many world’s 5 nations most susceptible to local weather change and desertification.

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In April, an surroundings ministry official warned that Iraq might face “272 days of mud” a 12 months over the following 20 years.


1000’s sick as newest extreme sandstorm sweeps throughout Iraq


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Newest sandstorm brings Iraq to standstill (2022, Might 16)
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