KILLER sandstorm sweeps through the Middle East
A thick sandstorm swept across parts of the Middle East on Tuesday, killing two people and hospitalising hundreds in Lebanon. It also disrupted air strikes in Syria.
Clouds of dust also engulfed Jordan and Cyprus where visibility fell to 500 metres. "We have had sandstorms before, but not of this intensity. It's very rare for this time of year too and it's covering the entire region," a Cypriot metrological office official said.
In Syria, the storm caused government warplanes and helicopters to carry out less strikes. At least six people died across the country from respiratory failure, an insider revealed. "There were four (killed) in Deir Ezzor, including a child and an elderly woman, as well as another child in Hama province and a person in Daraa," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
According to Lebanon's health ministry, two women had died in the eastern Bekaa Valley region because of the storm. "The number of cases of choking and shortness of breath caused by the sandstorm has risen to 750," the ministry said. Police circulated face masks on streets, and authorities warned people suffering from health problems to stay indoors.
The effects of the storm even reached Cairo, where the city’s skyline was covered in a thick fog.