Weather of Arabia - Once again, today, Monday, a dust storm covered the sky of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and other areas in the country, all the way to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, which prompted the authorities to suspend official working hours in administrations and close airports.
Where the administration of Sulaymaniyah Airport, in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, announced the suspension of flights today, Monday, due to the dust storm, and Baghdad International Airport announced in a statement, the suspension of flights for Monday, “due to dust storms and the visibility of the range reaching 400 meters,” and movement was also suspended. Air force at Najaf airport in the south of the country, and Erbil airport, the capital of the Kurdistan region in the north.
The dust storm started from Sunday night to Monday, and will gradually disappear on Monday evening. Residents of the capital woke up to layers of dust covering their homes and cars, while the level of visibility was poor in the streets and roads that were almost empty of pedestrians.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, in a statement on Sunday evening, requested, in anticipation of the dust storm, “the suspension of official working hours in official institutions, except for health, security and service departments,” Monday, “due to bad weather conditions, and the entry of a wave of severe dust storms to separate areas of Iraq.” .
Dust storms have become a very frequent phenomenon in Iraq during the last two months, with their occurrence almost weekly.
Experts attribute it to climate change, lack of rain and desertification. Iraq is one of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change and desertification in the world, especially due to the increasing drought with high temperatures that exceed fifty degrees Celsius for days in the summer.
In an interview with the Iraqi News Agency, the Director General of the Technical Department of the Iraqi Ministry of Environment warned of the increase in sandstorms, especially after the number of dusty days rose to "272 days per year for a period of two decades." And it is likely that "it will reach 300 dusty days per year in 2050."
Increasing vegetation cover and planting dense trees that act as windbreaks are the most important solutions needed to reduce the rate of sandstorms, according to the ministry.