BAGHDAD ( Associated Press) — Heavy dust blanketing the sky didn’t deter Muhammed Ghalib from going to work in Baghdad’s main business district Monday as the latest in a relentless series of intense sandstorms tore through Iraq.
The powder coated her eyelashes in an orange hue. She arrived at 4 am, in the middle of a storm, and sat in front of her stall by the street to sell household items at the Shorja market in the capital.
“Life goes on,” he said.
In the capital, Ghalib was one of a handful of shopkeepers who ignored public warnings to stay indoors due to bad weather, lamenting financial losses and hardships amid continuing economic troubles.
The Health Ministry said there were at least 1,700 cases of serious respiratory conditions in Baghdad from the storm on Monday.
According to the authorities, since April there have been at least eight sandstorms in Iraq that have put thousands of people in hospitals with severe respiratory difficulties and at least one person has died, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which stated the state of emergency.
Monday’s sandstorm killed two people in the neighboring eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour, along the border with Iraq, according to the official SANA news agency. The agency said hundreds of people were taken to hospitals after suffering respiratory problems, adding that the dead were a father and his son.
The Sham FM radio station reported that a young man had suffocated in the village of Al-Harijia, north of Deir el-Zour.