Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Deadly sandstorm continues to blanket Middle East

Lebanon's unprecedented and deadly sandstorm has forced the government to shut schools and public institutions over health concerns.

The sandstorm, which entered its third day on Wednesday, caused the deaths of four people in the country, while sending as many as 2,000 to hospitals due to breathing problems, a health ministry official told the DPA news agency.

Those who died, including a child, were from eastern and northern Lebanon, the parts of the country hardest hit by the storm.

The unseasonable sandstorm is reported to have killed at least 12 people across the region. The meteorological department at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport described the storm as being "unprecedented" in Lebanon's modern history.

The storm also hit Syria, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Egypt. In Jordan, schools shut down or cut their days short.

In Syria's Hama, at least three women died, according to state media which also reported that 3,500 cases are being treated in several hospitals in various regime-controlled areas.

The pro-government Syrian Al-Watan newspaper says it forced the government to halt its air strikes against rebel fighters in the rebel-held areas in the north and centre of the country.

Al Jazeera's weather presenter, Rob McElwee, said on Wednesday that the situation had since gotten better in Syria but the other countries were still badly hit.

"Syria has improved, but Lebanon is still badly affected, so is Jordan, Israel, and less so northern Egypt and Cyprus. I think tomorrow will see an improvement throughout."...
 Dust storm causes flight cancellations in Cyprus

1 comment:

  1. A massive sandstorm that swept across parts of Middle East yesterday has left at least six people dead and millions suffering from respiratory problems, local media reported...

    Tens of thousands of Syrians have suffered from asphyxiation and respiratory problems in Syria since the sandstorm hit the country, according to the state news agency SANA on Tuesday.

    The sandstorm hit Syria since Sunday and killed three people in the central province of Hama Tuesday, while causing asphyxiation and breathing problems, including allergies to thousands of people in Hama and beyond, said SANA.

    The sandstorm is partly due to a low-pressure system covering the entire region and winds blowing sand from the east, SANA said.

    Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based watchdog group, placed the death toll from the sandstorm at six from Hama, the eastern province of Deir al-Zour as well as the southern province of Daraa.

    The Health Department stressed that hospitals are ready to respond to any emergency, including providing related drugs and bronchodilators as well as face masks to alleviate those allergic to sandstorms.

    The Syrian Meteorology Directorate said that the current sandstorm represents a "rare phenomenon" at this time of year, and that the storm will gradually start declining as of Tuesday evening, but will continue throughout the weekend, due to lack of rain.

    The sandstorm has forced the Syrian army to suspend its operations in the al-Ghab Plains region in Hama. It also prevented warplanes and helicopters from carrying out airstrikes on rebel posts in the Hama countryside and the northwestern province of Idlib.

    Meanwhile, in Lebaon three people died and more than 750 others were hospitalized with breathing problems due to the unprecedented sand storm that is engulfing Lebanon Tuesday, according to the Health Ministry.

    "Three individuals died and almost 750 people were rushed to hospitals as an unseasonal sandstorm hit Lebanon, covering the country, including Beirut, with a blanket of yellow dust", the Health ministry said in a statement...............


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