Iraq Sandstorm Photos Remind Netizens of What the Climate Crisis Looks Like

Iraqi skies have turned orange-red as the country faces its eighth sandstorm since mid-April. Intense weather conditions caused by global warming and the climate crisis have affected the daily lives of Iraqis. According to an Al Jazeera report, the country’s airspace has been closed, while the Ministry of Education and other offices declared an emergency for local government institutions in Baghdad on Monday. The report also mentions that the sandstorm also increased the number of people in Baghdad and southern cities facing breathing difficulties. Iraqi residents are also sharing photos of the sandstorm on Twitter, revealing the Blade Runner 2049-like scenes unfolding in the Middle Eastern country.

A user shared how the sandstorm is particularly affecting homeless people and refugees in Iraq. The dark images showed children covered in dust. “When we talk about the sandstorm in Iraq and being safe in our homes, we must never forget the families of displaced refugees in the camps who have no shelters or walls to protect them. This is how they are suffering during the storm that swept across the country. Climate crisis,” the tweet read.

Another user shared a photo of a lake covered in sand with an orange sky above.

The photo highlighted the reduced visibility in the city. Baghdad International Airport said in a statement that it was closing its airspace and halting all flights until further notice due to low visibility, Al Jazeera reported.

A few users also shared satellite-captured videos of sand movement in the area. Commenting on the video, a reporter tweeted: “A fantastic sight for keen scientists, but let’s not forget the pernicious effect this dust storm is having on the millions of people experiencing it, especially those who have not adequate housing or access to medical care (there are more than a million displaced people in Iraq).

The sandstorm comes at a time when Iraq is being hit by land degradation, intense droughts and low rainfall, all linked to climate change.

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