A massive dust and sandstorm swept over northern Saudi Arabia, Syria, parts of Jordan and much of Iraq on October 29, 2017, significantly reducing visibility and sending a large number of people to hospitals. In Kurdistan Region’s capital city of Erbil (Iraq), the visibility was dropped to less than 300 m (984 feet), officials said. “Since Saturday night, the Kurdistan Region has come under a heavy dust storm reducing visibility to a large extent,” said Fazil Ibrahim, head of Earthquake and Metrology Department. “The sight distance inside Erbil is less than 300 meters.”

Dr. Khalil Qadir, spokesperson of the Health Ministry told Rudaw English that a large number of people admitted were those already suffering from other chronic illnesses and were hospitalized at the emergency hospitals due to the dust. “The total number of cases who visited emergency hospitals in Erbil was 485 cases. So far, 153 cases have been admitted and managed. In Sulaimani and Duhok, there were no cases,” said Qadir. FULL REPORT