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Flight stopped and shortness of breath: severe sandstorms in Iraq

Severe sandstorms in Iraq disrupted air travel and reportedly caused breathing difficulties for dozens of people. Yesterday, the official Iraqi News Agency reported the suspension of flights at both Baghdad and Najaf airport in the south due to poor visibility. “Flights have stopped until visibility improves,” the agency quoted Najaf airport departments as saying.

APA / Agence France-Presse / Ahmed Al-Rubaie

Pictures and videos spread online, which were said to show a large cloud of sand west of Baghdad. Five provinces in the country were affected by the storm, according to the Iraqi National News Agency, which published images of a capital shrouded in thick orange-red fog. Sand causes breathing difficulties for many people. Alsumaria News reported that at least 50 patients with breathing difficulties and the risk of suffocation were registered in hospitals south of Karbala. Dozens of cases have been reported in medical circles.

Sandstorms are common in Iraq. Strong northwesterly winds blowing over the flood plains of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the desert region, especially in the summer. Dust particles significantly degrade air quality.

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