Dust storm hits Iraq’s Basra province, 14 people admitted to hospitals
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A dust storm on Sunday hit Iraq’s oil-rich province of Basra, with hospitals recording at least 14 cases of suffocation and breathing difficulties.
The storm weakened visibility in the area but did not stop the export of crude oil from Basra, which accounts for the bulk of Iraq’s oil exports and generates most of the country’s revenue.
In a statement, the Basra Health Department said that hospitals in the province had initially received 14 cases of people exhibiting breathing problems early in the morning.
The cases were treated and the patients ‘fully recovered,’ according to the statement.
Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have witnessed heavy rainfall over the past few days, weeks after authorities announced this winter season had recorded the lowest levels of rain in 80 years.
Authorities in Anbar province declared Sunday a day off following heavy rainfall and floods in the region. Authorities in the Diyala and Salahaddin provinces later made a similar announcement.
The floods caused by the heavy rain affected many provinces in the central and southern regions of Iraq, damaging roads and infrastructure in some areas as the sewage system failed to drain the water properly.
Witnesses in Baghdad also reported car accidents and technical issues with their vehicles due to the rain.
Photos and videos posted on the social media showed municipal teams trying to drain the water where, in some areas, flooded people’s houses.
In some of the Kurdistan Region's provinces, especially in the south of Sulaimani and Garmian areas, the rain damaged and obstructed roads.
While dust storm covered Iraqi provinces in the south, border areas in the Kurdistan Region were hit by snow, namely the town of Choman on the border with Iran.
Editing by Nadia Riva