UN warns of increasingly dangerous sand and dust storms threatening livestext_fields
The United Nations issued a stark warning about the dramatic surge in sand and dust storms, especially impacting Central Asia.
These toxic storms have wreaked havoc across desert and steppe-covered regions, posing a significant threat to life.
As the UN's Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) convened in Samarkand for a five-day session just ahead of the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, concerns about the escalating frequency and severity of these natural phenomena were raised, reported AFP.
Ibrahim Thiaw, the secretary of UNCCD, emphasised the alarming spectacle created by rolling dark clouds of sand and dust engulfing vast areas, transforming day into an eerie darkness. "It is a costly phenomenon that wreaks havoc everywhere from Northern and Central Asia to sub-Saharan Africa," Thiaw stated.
Highlighting the global impact, the agency indicated that desert dust has doubled over the last century, with approximately two billion tons of sand and dust entering the atmosphere annually, an amount equivalent to 360 Great Pyramids of Giza in weight.
Experts underscored the life-threatening effects of these storms, indicating that fine dust particles can ascend to high tropospheric levels, travelling vast distances through winds. Such storms have led to health issues, as reported by residents in Tajikistan who suffered respiratory problems caused by the storms' aftermath.
Once infrequent, these storms now persist from spring into autumn across significant parts of Central Asia, originating from dried-out areas like the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, the Kazakh steppes, and neighbouring Afghanistan.
The UN's warning served as an urgent call to address the increasing occurrences of these hazardous sand and dust storms, amplifying their severe impact on multiple regions globally.