In Iraq, at least one person died and more than 5,000 were hospitalized with respiratory ailments Thursday as a massive dust storm blanketed much of the country. Six of Iraq’s 18 provinces suffered the storm’s effects, including the capital Baghdad, where authorities urged everyone to stay indoors — especially those with breathing difficulties.
Ahmad Thaer: “This dust makes the situation worse, because we cannot inhale clean air with this dust storm. There could have been better solutions for the climate to become balanced. Green belts could have been planted, and we could adhere to international climate treaties. This continuously happens, and every time people die because of it.”
It’s the seventh severe dust storm to hit Iraq in just the last month. In March, the International Monetary Fund released a report finding temperatures in the Middle East and Central Asia have already risen 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, triggering droughts and causing over 2,600 deaths a year.