Dust storm sweeps across Istanbul, prompting health warnings

A dust storm originating from the Sahara Desert is sweeping across Istanbul, prompting health warnings from experts due to potential adverse effects on respiratory health.

The dust clouds, propelled by strong winds, reached Türkiye from the Sahara Desert and engulfed Istanbul during the midnight hours, impacting some districts.

Citizens in Istanbul reported visibility issues and discomfort caused by the fine dust particles, which settled on surfaces and vehicles.

Turkish State Meteorological Service officials cautioned residents about potential health hazards associated with the dust storm, including painful sensations in the eyes, shortness of breath, weakness and headaches.

Additionally, forecasts predict mud rains following the dust cloud, exacerbating air pollution levels and expected to persist for three to four days.

Türkiye's western neighbor Greece was also negatively affected by the storm. In the capital Athens, life has been similarly impacted by dust storms and scorching temperatures exceeding seasonal norms, reaching up to 31 degrees Celsius in some areas.

Experts warned individuals, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma, to avoid outdoor activities and strenuous work, advising precautionary measures such as the use of masks and sunglasses for protection.

Speaking to the Greek state-television broadcaster ERT, experts highlighted the potential dangers of dust storms, which can mix with pollen, bacteria and fungi, forming a toxic combination harmful to human health.

Flight delays have also been reported in Thessaloniki due to the adverse weather conditions caused by the dust clouds.

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