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A dust storm hits Iraq … and air traffic is suspended at two airports

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – A dust storm hit Iraqi governors, in addition to the capital Baghdad, on Sunday, while dozens were suffocated by the storm.

Iraqi authorities announced the suspension of air traffic at Baghdad and Najaf airports due to weather conditions, according to the Iraqi news agency.

Authorities were forced to divert the landing routes of some aircraft when the Iraqi Airways plane, which arrived from Beirut, arrived at Basra Airport as a result of its inability to land at Najaf Airport.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport, Hussein Jalil, told the Iraqi News Agency (INA) that “the Iraqi Airways plane took off from Beirut and could not land at Najaf International Airport due to bad weather.”

Meanwhile, hospitals in the Najaf and Anbar governorships on Sunday received 93 cases of suffocation due to the dust storm, according to the official news agency.

The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture linked the recurrence of dust storms to the problem of desertification in the country.

The Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mithaq Abdul-Hussein, told the official agency: “There are 3 direct factors that influenced and led to the recurrence of dust storms and the increase in desertification, represented by the lack of rain, the lack of water resources from downstream countries, and reduction of the agricultural plan, agriculture and sustainability in the green belt.

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