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Sky turns orange as sandstorm blankets Kuwait, grounds flights

Published: Updated:

A sandstorm blanketed parts of Kuwait, disrupting flights and leading to the cancelation of large-scale public events on Monday.

It was the latest in a series of sandstorms to hit the Gulf, following similar storms in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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For the second time this month, Kuwait International Airport suspended all flights because of the sandstorm on Monday as the massive plume of dust reduced visibility to almost zero across the country.

A sandstorm blanketed parts of Kuwait, disrupting flights and leading to the cancellation of large-scale public events on Monday. (Supplied: Twitter)
A sandstorm blanketed parts of Kuwait, disrupting flights and leading to the cancellation of large-scale public events on Monday. (Supplied: Twitter)

It led to the Kuwait Football Association announcing on Monday the postponement of the final match of the Amir Cup due to bad weather.

The match, which was scheduled to bring together the Kazma and Salmiya clubs Monday evening, was put off after the Kuwait Meteorological Department forecasted a heavy sandstorm.

Kuwaiti residents took to social media to document bright orange skies and a thick veil of grit over the Gulf country’s skyline

On Twitter, one wrote: “Visibility fading away in a matter of seconds. Everyone, please be very careful, drive slow and stay inside.”

Another said: “Currently in Kuwait. It is my first time seeing this and this sandstorm looks orange in color.”

An embassy worker in Kuwait wrote: “Early release from the embassy today due to the heavy sandstorm sweeping through Kuwait. Hope everyone stays safe and indoors.”

In the UAE, experts warned of the health impacts of the dusty conditions caused by sandstorms which blanketed large parts of the country this week.

Forecasters issued a countrywide alert of hazardous weather due to sandstorm-related dust conditions.

As winds blow dust and sand into the atmosphere - affecting not only visibility - it also acerbates existing health conditions among residents, say doctors.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, a sandstorm engulfed the Kingdom’s capital and other regions of the country last week, hampering visibility and slowing road traffic.

A thick grey haze made iconic Riyadh buildings such as Kingdom Centre nearly impossible to see from more than a few hundred meters away, though there were no announced flight delays or cancelations.

Sandstorms also hit Iraq on Monday, leading to officials to close public buildings and temporarily shut airports as the latest sandstorm -- the ninth since mid-April -- hit the country, authorities said.

The capital Baghdad was enveloped in a giant dust cloud that left usually traffic-choked streets largely deserted, an AFP correspondent said.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi ordered all work to cease in public institutions, with the exception of health facilities and security agencies.

He cited “poor climatic conditions and the arrival of violent sandstorms” in a statement issued by his office.

Read more:

Sandstorm blankets Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh

Sandstorm forces closure of Iraqi airports and public buildings

Experts warn of health effects from dusty conditions as sandstorm blankets UAE

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