Thousands of Iraqis have been treated in hospitals with breathing difficulties following the sandstorms. The elderly and those with chronic respiratory diseases and heart problems are most at risk. Today, hundreds of people in the capital Baghdad and other cities have been hospitalized with breathing difficulties.
Iraq has seen more frequent sandstorms, but experts say the current frequency is unprecedented. The causes they cite are drought, rapid desertification and climate change.
Drought and extreme temperatures are drying out agricultural land. In recent years, record temperatures of 52 degrees Celsius have been measured. Climate activists criticize the Iraqi government for not prioritizing climate change mitigation.
The Iraqi government has previously said that dam projects in Turkey and Iran are reducing the flow of rivers to Iraq. According to the government, this means that water reserves have decreased by 50% compared to last year, making the ground drier and more susceptible to sandstorms.
The fact is that it rains less and less in Iraq and the water supply has been decreasing for years. Last month, an Environment Ministry official warned that Iraq could experience 272 dust days a year for the next 20 years.
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