Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

Published May 8th, 2022 - 06:25 GMT

Seven severe sandstorms have hit Iraq in the span of one month, causing one death and an estimated 5,000 hospitalizations according to the country's health ministry. Sandstorms, also known as dust storms, have been increasing in frequency in Iraq as drought, soil degradation and climate change result in a drier climate more prone to sandstorms. The health ministry said those affected the most by the storms have been the elderly and people with respiratory conditions like asthma.

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Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

Vehicles drive along a road during a severe dust storm in Iraq's capital Baghdad on May 1, 2022. Flights were grounded today due to poor visibility at airports serving the capital Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Najaf, with the phenomenon expected to continue into tomorrow, according to the weather service. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

An aerial picture shows a view of Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah during a heavy sandstorm on May 5, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

Iraqis receive treatment at an emergency ward in Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad as thousands were hospitalized across the country during a heavy sandstorm on May 6, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

An Iraqi woman receives treatment at an emergency ward in Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah as thousands were hospitalized across the country during a heavy sandstorm on May 5, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

Iraqis receive treatment at an emergency ward in Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad as thousands were hospitalized across the country during a heavy sandstorm on May 6, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

Iraqis visit the Imam Ali shrine during a sandstorm in Iraq's holy city of Najaf on May 5, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. Iraq was hammered by a series of such storms in April, grounding flights and leaving dozens hospitalized with respiratory problems. (Photo by Qassem al-KAABI / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq

An Iraqi policeman directs traffic during a severe dust storm in the capital Baghdad on May 1, 2022. Flights were grounded today due to poor visibility at airports serving the capital Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Najaf, with the phenomenon expected to continue into tomorrow, according to the weather service. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Vehicles drive along a road during a severe dust storm in Iraq's capital Baghdad on May 1, 2022. Flights were grounded today due to poor visibility at airports serving the capital Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Najaf, with the phenomenon expected to continue into tomorrow, according to the weather service. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
An aerial picture shows a view of Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah during a heavy sandstorm on May 5, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP)
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Iraqis receive treatment at an emergency ward in Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad as thousands were hospitalized across the country during a heavy sandstorm on May 6, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
An Iraqi woman receives treatment at an emergency ward in Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah as thousands were hospitalized across the country during a heavy sandstorm on May 5, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP)
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Iraqis receive treatment at an emergency ward in Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad as thousands were hospitalized across the country during a heavy sandstorm on May 6, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
Iraqis visit the Imam Ali shrine during a sandstorm in Iraq's holy city of Najaf on May 5, 2022. Iraq is yet again covered in a thick sheet of orange as it suffers the latest in a series of dust storms that have become increasingly common. Iraq was hammered by a series of such storms in April, grounding flights and leaving dozens hospitalized with respiratory problems. (Photo by Qassem al-KAABI / AFP)
Severe Sandstorms Suffocate Iraq
An Iraqi policeman directs traffic during a severe dust storm in the capital Baghdad on May 1, 2022. Flights were grounded today due to poor visibility at airports serving the capital Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Najaf, with the phenomenon expected to continue into tomorrow, according to the weather service. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)