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Massive sandstorm sweeps Middle East, killing at least 8

9 September 2015 8:14


A tremendous sandstorm has struck the western parts of the Middle East, killing at least eight people and causing respiratory problems for hundreds more.

The massive and dense sandstorm hit vast areas of Syria on Monday and shrouded larger regions of the Middle East on Tuesday as it spread to Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus, Iraq, and Turkey.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, over 1,200 people, including 100 children, have been treated for breathing problems since Monday night, said Adeeb Mahmoud, the head of a major hospital in the capital.

However, at least six people, including two children and an elderly woman, lost their lives in the war-torn country due to respiratory failure, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday.

The UK-based monitoring group went on to say that in the city of Mayadin in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, several hospitals were no longer receiving patients suffering from respiratory problems after running out of oxygen tanks.

Lebanon’s Health Ministry also said that two women died in hospitals because of the storm.

“The number of cases of choking and shortness of breath caused by the sandstorm has risen to 750,” the ministry further added.

The storm, viewed from space by NASA, was particularly felt in Lebanon’s tens of makeshift camps where hundreds of thousands of Syrian asylum seekers live in dire conditions.

The unseasonal storm has also sent at least 10 people to hospitals in Cyprus so far.

Health officials in the Mediterranean island have warned that the concentration of dust particles in the air was many times above normal levels and advised people to limit their time outdoors.

The giant storm has reportedly reached the Egyptian capital Cairo obscuring the skyline with a thick haze.


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