A series of dust storms across central and southern Iraq have led to thousands of Iraqis attending hospitals and clinics to seek treatment for breathing problems, medical officials said on Thursday.
During the latest storm, which began overnight on Thursday and covered the capital Baghdad and many other areas in a thick haze, at least 3,000 people sought medical help, hospital workers in several governorates said.
Iraq has seen an increasing number of dust, sand and windstorms in recent years, including several in recent weeks. Most Iraqis say that cannot remember experiencing so many storms in such a short space of time.
Iraq's summers are getting hotter, hitting record temperatures of at least 52 degrees Celsius in the past two years.
The country's agriculture sector, dependent largely on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, has also suffered from drought and rising heat. Iraq's 2020-2021 rainfall season was the second driest in 40 years, according to the United Nations.