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Dust storms "paralyze Iraq"... Why did they increase in frequency?

Dust storms “paralyze Iraq”… Why did they increase in frequency?

Meteorologists in Iraq expect the impact of new storms to continue, even partially, until Tuesday, as the Meteorological Authority, in its latest data, suggested that they would begin to dissipate by Monday evening.

As a result, it was announced that official working hours would be suspended in Baghdad, on Monday, due to bad weather and the entry of a wave of severe dust storms to separate areas of Iraq.

According to a statement issued by the General Secretariat of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, the health, security and service departments are excluded from this decision, which, according to weather and climate experts, reflects the severity and strength of the storms that strike the country.

Air traffic was halted at Baghdad and Erbil international airports due to storms, and the visibility was reduced to 400 metres, while dozens of suffocation cases were recorded in Baghdad And many other provinces, before the two airports resume work at noon on Monday.

And successive waves at an unprecedented pace Dust and sand storms in Iraq During the first half of this year, the last of which is this new storm, and thus the number of sandstorms that the country has witnessed in about a month and a half will only rise to 9, and it is believed that the latter, according to meteorologists, is the most violent among them.

Environmental and climate experts believe that the lack of rain and the random depletion of surface and groundwater reserves without controls and restrictions, is what exacerbates the repercussions of the phenomenon of climate change on Iraq, which is threatened by the expansion of desertification and drought within it, which is reflected tangibly through these successive and unprecedented dust storms.

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Increasing vegetation cover, planting forests with dense trees that act as windbreaks, and constructing green areas and belts surrounding Iraqi cities and towns, is one of the most important steps to reduce the rate of sandstorms, contain their devastating effects, and work to purify the air, according to experts.

Commenting on the increasing number of dust storms in Iraq, Dara Hassan, an environmental and climatological expert, former director of the Department of Meteorology and Seismic Monitoring in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, says: The storm has become very worrying, for example, this new wave that hit the country since the late hours of Sunday night, and continues for two days and more, comes less than 5 days after another strong wave that hit it during the past week, which means that the frequency of dust storms has become almost daily. .

Hassan continues in an interview with “Sky News Arabia”: “It seems that we are paying the tax of extreme and accumulated climate changes. Dust storms, although they usually strike the country, their intensity and strength this year are doubled as one of the most prominent manifestations of climate extremism and its effects,” considering that “the phenomenon of climate change is In Iraq, drought, desertification and lack of rain lead to the fragility of green spaces and the already scarce vegetation cover in Iraq and the region in general, and to the disruption of environmental and climatic systems.

And the climate expert adds: “Thus, these negative climate changes around the world, not only in our country, and result in disruptive and harmful shifts in the usual climatic and natural patterns and processes, such as rain, snow, hurricanes, dust, dust storms, heat waves and cold, so that the intensity and destructiveness increases and what can not be expected. It is punctuated by mutations.”

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It is noteworthy that during the last few months in particular, dust storms have been repeated on a record in Iraq, and at times led to the closure of the country’s international airports in Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah due to poor visibility and bad weather conditions as a result, as well as recording deaths and thousands of cases of suffocation.

Iraq is one of the five countries most affected by climate change and desertification in the world, especially due to the increase in drought and heat with high temperatures that for long periods exceed half the boiling point, during the height of the summer.