Lebanon: “Unprecedented” sandstorm in Greater Beqaa region, 35 taken to hospital – Published 08 Sept 2015 1520z (GMT/UTC)

A sandstorm lashed several regions in the Bekaa, North and South on Monday, landing scores of people in hospitals and bringing visibility to extremely low levels.

The Meteorological Department at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport described the storm as “unprecedented” in Lebanon’s modern history, OTV said.

The National News Agency said the Red Cross transferred at least 35 people suffering respiratory distress to hospitals in the northern region of Akkar.

In northern Bekaa, a woman identified as Jumana Ali al-Laqqis died of a severe asthma attack at the Baalbek state-run hospital, NNA said. “Dust encircled homes in the regions of al-Bireh, al-Qobaiyat, Jabal Akroum, Wadi Khaled, Khirbet Daoud all the way to Akkar’s coast,” the agency said.

In the Bekaa, the sandstorm hit the city of Hermel and the area adjacent to Akkar and Dinniyeh, causing low visibility and an accumulation of garbage on streets and in irrigation canals. Dozens of residents were transferred to hospitals in the region.
The storm also lashed Baalbek and the neighboring areas, reducing visibility to near zero and causing a surge in temperature. “Some citizens, especially those who suffer from asthma and respiratory allergies, were forced to wear medical masks to avoid inhaling dust,” NNA said. The dust wave also reached the southern regions of Hasbaya, al-Orqoub and Jabal al-Wostani.

Tuesday, 08 September, 2015 at 03:15 (03:15 AM) UTC RSOE

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