Sandstorm in Southern Kurdistan

As a sandstorm is raging in Southern Kurdistan, about 600 people have been hospitalized with respiratory problems. The KRI Ministry of Health calls for people to leave their homes only in emergencies.

In southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq), a sandstorm is paralyzing public life, and hundreds of people are being treated in hospitals. According to the health authority in Hewlêr (Erbil), 222 people have been hospitalized for respiratory problems since Friday morning.

In Duhok, 162 hospital admissions have been reported so far, and in Sulaymaniyah, according to the health authority, eleven people have been hospitalized so far, including four children. Kirkuk has also been severely affected, with 206 people hospitalized with respiratory problems. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Ministry of Health is calling for people to leave their homes only in compelling circumstances.

Extreme weather events in Iraq

In central and western Iraq, the sandstorm started Wednesday night. Meteorologists blame the lack of rainfall in the region for the natural disaster. In December and January, heavy rains led to flooding and several deaths. The rain hit southern Kurdistan after one of the driest periods in recent decades. Rivers and lakes reached low water levels or dried up completely.

In general, Iraq has suffered from several extreme weather events in recent years. In addition to heat waves and droughts, there have also been severe floods. The drought led to severe crop failures and shortages of drinking water. Many farmers abandoned their farms and moved to the cities. This further worsened the supply situation. The World Bank warned in November that due to climate change, Iraq's water resources are expected to decline by a further 20 percent by 2050.