Thousands of Iraqis were treated in hospitals for breathing difficulties as a result of sandstorms. Older adults and those with chronic respiratory disease 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 sandstorms frequently, but experts say the current pace is unprecedented. The reasons they mentioned are drought, rapid desertification and climate change.
Drought and extreme temperatures are drying up farmland. In recent years, record temperatures of 52°C have been measured. Climate activists blame the Iraqi government for not prioritizing climate change mitigation.
The Iraqi government said earlier that dam projects in Turkey and Iran reduce the flow of river water into Iraq. According to the government, this means that water reserves are down 50 percent compared to last year, and as a result the land is drier and more susceptible to sandstorms.
The truth is that it is raining less and more in Iraq and the water supply has been declining for years. An official in the Ministry of Environment warned last month that Iraq may face 272 days of dust annually over the next twenty years.
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