Iraq has reopened its airport after briefly closing it due to choking clouds of dust blanketing the capital, the latest crippling sandstorm in a country that has warned climate change poses an “existential threat.”
It was the tenth duststorm since mid-April to hit Iraq, which has been battered by intense droughts, soil degradation, high temperatures and low rainfall linked to climate change.
On Monday morning, a thick white dust covered the Iraqi capital and surroundings areas, with visibility slashed to a few hundred meters.
Officials at Baghdad airport announced the temporary suspension of flights for a few hours before they were restarted at around 10:30 a.m. local time.
In Najaf, a Shiite holy city in central Iraq, the airport briefly suspended operations in the morning before reopening a few hours later when the dust passed.
Airports have been forced to suspend flights several times due to sandstorms in recent weeks.