ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A major dust storm has swept across the Kurdistan Region reducing visibility in the capital city of Erbil to less than one kilometer, said an official.
“Since last 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.”
Ibrahim added the dust storm had less of an effect on the Duhok province as sight distance there is eight kilometers.
Dr. Khalil Qadir, spokesperson of the Health Ministry confirmed to 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.
The head of the Earthquake and Metrology Department believed the dust storm will come to an end by Sunday evening.
The dust storm, he explained, is largely originating from Mosul and Syria.
He added that the deserts of Iraq cause annual dust storms in the Kurdistan Region.