The ninth sandstorm to hit Iraq since mid-April forced the closure of public buildings and the temporary closure of the country’s airports on Monday.

The health ministry reported that more than 1,000 individuals had been hospitalized due to respiratory issues. 

While Baghdad’s normally congested streets were mostly unoccupied, bathed in eerie orange light, the city was engulfed in a cloud of dust. Shepherds in the Najaf region south of Baghdad were also caught in the dust storm.

No activity at state-run institutions, save for security and health services was allowed to continue because of “bad meteorological circumstances,” Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi said in a statement.

In terms of climate change and desertification, Iraq is one of the five most susceptible countries on the planet.

One person died and almost 10,000 others were hospitalized as a result of Iraq’s prior two sandstorms

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