At least one dead, 5,000 hospitalized in Iraq sandstorm

Baghdad, May 5 (EFE).- At least one person has died and over 5,000 have been hospitalized after a major sandstorm swept Iraq on Wednesday night, health authorities reported Thursday.

Over 5,000 people have been hospitalized due to respiratory problems with over 2,000 of them in the Baghdad province, health ministry spokesman, Saif al-Badr, said.

The majority of the cases are mild and most patients are eldely, asthmatic or with existing respiratory problems, al-Badr added.

Wednesday’s sandstorm, which affected six provinces, is the latest in a series of dust storms that have gripped Iraq in recent weeks.

On Sunday, Baghdad’s international airport suspended operations for a few hours due to bad weather and limited visibility.

Iraq is particularly vulnerable to climate change after witnessing record high temperatures and low rainfall in recent years.

The World Bank warned in November last year the country could suffer from a 20% drop in water resources by 2050 due to climate change. EFE


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