New dust storm hits Iraq, suspending flights

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All regions of Iraq were exposed to a dust storm on Sunday, the sixth in a month, which closed the international airports of Baghdad and Najaf, in an increasingly frequent phenomenon, while a hundred hospitalizations were recorded due to bad weather.

Clouds of yellow dust have blanketed most of central and southern Iraq, including the capital Baghdad, the southern city of Nasiriyah, central Babylon, Najaf and Karbala, and are expected to continue through tomorrow, Monday, according to the Iraqi Meteorological Department.

As a result, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority on Sunday suspended inbound and outbound flights from Baghdad and Najaf airports, an official told AFP.

“Flights to Baghdad and Najaf airports have been suspended due to the dust storm,” said Jihad Al-Diwan, director of relations at the Civil Aviation Authority. He added: “The movement of incoming and outgoing aircraft will return to normal if weather conditions improve.”

For its part, the administration of Baghdad International Airport announced that the visibility was “less than 500 meters”.

As a result of dust that remained encamped over the capital and some southern and western towns throughout the day, it recorded 93 cases of asphyxiation.

Salem Nehme, media director of Najaf’s health department, told a group of reporters that hospitals in the city in southern Iraq have received 63 cases of choking due to the dust storm, “most of them received the necessary treatment and did well.”

The Iraqi news agency also quoted Anas Qais Al-Ani, director of health information in Anbar province, as saying that two hospitals in the region received 30 cases of suffocation “as a result of the dust storm. , and that they are currently receiving the necessary medical care”. care.”

In the past month, Iraq has experienced more than five dust storms, which led to dozens of hospitalizations due to respiratory problems, and airports in Baghdad and Najaf were closed for several hours.

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