Baghdad, 5 May 2022 (TDI): One person has died and more than 5,000 people have been admitted to hospitals with breathing problems in Iraq after a seventh severe dust storm in a month as per the reports.
A spokesman from the Health Ministry of Iraq said that 2,000 cases of “suffocation” had been reported in Baghdad province. He advised people with asthma and other chronic diseases to stay indoors.
Dust storms are common in Iraq, but some experts believe they are becoming more frequent due to climate change. Another storm on Sunday left dozens of people with breathing difficulties.
It also grounded flights at airports serving Baghdad and the holy city of Najaf. Health Ministry spokesman, Saif al-Badr said on Thursday that all of Iraq’s medical facilities were on alert and that the number of people admitted with respiratory problems was “not final.”
Last month, an Environment Ministry official warned that Iraq could face “272 days of dust” a year in the coming decades. The storms are expected to become more frequent due to drought, desertification, and declining rainfall.
According to some reports, in recent years, Iraq has seen record low rainfall and summer temperatures regularly exceeding 50 ºC (122 F). Iraq’s water reserves are already 50% lower than last year.
The Water Resources Ministry of the country has already warned that the vital Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which provide most of the country’s surface water, could dry up within 20 years.
Not all droughts are due to climate change, but excess heat in the atmosphere is drawing more moisture out of the earth and making droughts worse.
Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist mentioned on Twitter that the world has already warmed by about 1.2 ºC since the industrial era began. Consequently, temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world take measures to make steep cuts in emissions.