Three dead, hundreds hospitalised in Iran dust storms

By AFP
September 23, 2023

TEHRAN: As least three people have died and more than 1,300 others have required medical attention as dust storms sweep across Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, state media reported on Friday.

Such storms have become more frequent in recent years in Iran’s south as wetlands are drying up at an increasingly alarming rate, spurring regional water disputes.

Official news agency IRNA quoted the province’s crisis management chief, Majid Mohebi, as saying three people “died in accidents caused by reduced visibility” this week.

Over the past three days “1,346 people... have sought medical assistance from hospitals and medical centres,” Mohebi added.

They are residents of five adjacent towns in Sistan-Baluchistan near the border with Afghanistan, according to Mohebi.

He said the most common problems were respiratory, heart and eye ailments.A forecast issued by the regional meteorological centre predicted that strong winds and dust storms would continue for several days. Dust and sandstorms have always affected the Middle East but have become more intense and more frequent in recent years.