Doctors in Syria believe the cloud of dust blanketing parts of the Middle East could be life-threatening as they report treating patients who struggle to breathe after inhaling the sand-contaminated air
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
A choking cloud of dust has turned skies across the Middle East an apocalyptic red, with some experts fearing the storm could spread across Europe next week.
The Gulf States of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Syria and Iraq are currently blanketed in a thick blanket of orange air.
The region has been suffering from extreme weather since mid-March, but regional experts believe the current patch could have “profound global consequences”.
In March, the sand-laden winds reached as far west as the UK coast, while a few weeks earlier they hit parts of Spain and France – where the snow-capped slopes of the Alps were transformed in muddy brown by the storm.
The Saharan dust cloud has created a “rain of blood” effect in London and has left the streets of the UK covered in dust.
But experts believe this current storm could be far more dangerous and life-threatening, with Syrian doctors now treating patients unable to breathe after inhaling the dust.
Most Gulf states have already declared a state of emergency.
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And Muge Akpinar-Elci, dean of the University of Nevada’s school of public health, told the Guardian: “It’s very concerning.
“Dust storms don’t just affect a specific country or location in the world and can have far-reaching global consequences.”
According to the Accuweather weather service, the UK will experience level eight UV rays on the UV Index from Saturday June 18 – which is classed as ‘unhealthy’.
It should last three days, until Monday, June 20.
It’s the same note London had when the ‘rain of blood’ hit the country last month – and could be a sign that the deadly dust clouds are heading our way.
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Syrian health ministry spokesman Seif al-Bard confirmed that three people had died from the dust in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, and issued an ominous warning to the rest of the world.
He said: “The impact of dust storms transcends regional and continental borders.
“So it’s not somebody else’s problem, it’s everybody’s problem.”
In May, a spokesperson for the Met Office said: “Every year on several occasions the UK will see rain falling with some amount of dust mixed in.
“It usually comes from the Sahara before mixing into the clouds and falling.
“However, the dust we see is usually yellow or brown and mixed in very low concentrations – so the rain would look the same as usual.
“The only difference would be that you might find a thin film of dust on your car or windows after the water has evaporated.”