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Iraq buffeted by tenth sandstorm in two months

BAGHDAD: Iraq quickly closed Baghdad airport on Monday as choking clouds of mud blanketed the capital, the most recent crippling sandstorm in a rustic that has warned local weather change poses an “existential menace”.

It was the tenth such storm since mid-April to hit Iraq, which has been battered by intense droughts, soil degradation, excessive temperatures and low rainfall linked to local weather change.

Earlier this month, to mark World Surroundings Day, President Barham Saleh warned that tackling local weather change “should change into a nationwide precedence for Iraq as it’s an existential menace to the way forward for our generations to come back”.

The solar ultimately reappeared on Monday afternoon, after a thick white mud had lined Baghdad and surrounding areas by means of the morning, with visibility slashed to some hundred metres (yards).

Officers at Baghdad airport introduced the short-term suspension of flights, earlier than they had been restarted at round 10:30am. In Najaf, the airport briefly suspended operations within the morning earlier than reopening a couple of hours later when the mud handed. Airports have been compelled to droop flights a number of instances resulting from sandstorms in current weeks.

In Might, sandstorms despatched hundreds of individuals to hospital with respiratory issues, and left one individual lifeless. Iraq, which is coming into the scorching summer time season when temperatures at instances surpass 50 levels Celsius, is ranked by the United Nations as one of many world’s 5 most weak nations to local weather change and desertification.

The atmosphere ministry has warned that over the following 20 years Iraq might endure a mean of 272 days of sandstorms per 12 months, rising to above 300 by 2050.

The World Financial institution warned in November that Iraq might undergo a 20 % drop in water sources by 2050 resulting from local weather change. Water shortages have been exacerbated by the constructing of upstream dams in neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

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