Baku, Azerbaijan, August 21
The head of Crisis Management Office in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province said massive storms and rising amount of suspended solids and dirt have sent 95 people to hospitals across the southeastern province.
“The storm, which swept over the province last night, has so far sent 95 people to hospitals,” Abdurrahman Shahnawazi told Tasnim on August 21.
He added that they have been all taken to hospitals due to respiratory problems, sore eyes and cardiovascular diseases.
“Some 68 (out of 95) of the individuals are receiving outpatient treatment and the rest are hospitalized,” the official said.
An official with Iran Meteorological Department also said the concentration of fine dust in the province currently stands at 4444 micrograms per cubic meter, while the normal volume of fine particles concentration is 150 micrograms per cubic meter.
“Dust concentration in the southeastern province’s air is around 30 times higher than the standard level,” Ali Mollashahi said.
Iranian residents in the western and southwestern provinces that border Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are facing a growing trend in the influx of fine particles, which are generated by drought-hit marshlands in neighboring countries.
In recent years, sand and dust storms in parts of southwestern Iran have caused periodic closures of schools, government offices, and businesses, bringing life to a standstill for residents. Many also fear the impact on their health.
Sand and dust storms have increasingly plagued countries across the Middle East. Though the exact cause of the increase in storms is not known, accelerated dam construction and diversion of water resources for agriculture throughout the region is thought to be the main culprit.