Baghdad's streets were empty of people on Monday as a massive sandstorm hit the Iraqi capital and several other provinces in the country. A thick blanket of dust covered roads and buildings in Baghdad with an orange film. Drivers kept car headlights on to see the road during the latest sandstorm to engulf the country. The authorities have declared a day off at schools and universities, and the airports in Baghdad and southern provinces were shut down. Many people were taken to hospital and treated for breathing difficulties. The sandstorm is affecting several other countries in the region and is expected to last for two days. Iraq is prone to seasonal sandstorms, but experts and officials are raising alarm over their frequency in recent years, which they say is exacerbated by record-low rainfall, desertification, and climate change. The World Bank has warned that Iraq could suffer a 20% drop in water resources by 2050.
Massive sandstorm hits Baghdad and other Iraq cities
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