Health ministry urges people to stay at home as sandstorms hit northern Egypt

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 Mar 2022

The Ministry of Health urged people to not leave their homes except when necessary as strong sandstorms hit parts of northern Egypt on Sunday, reducing air quality and posing health risks.

A man and a woman are riding a motorbike during a sandstorm in Cairo. File photo/Reuters

People should keep their noses covered and wear heavy clothes if they have to go outside during sandstorms, the ministry said in a statement circulated by local media on Saturday.

The ministry also warned that waves of sandstorms and weather fluctuations increase the chance of getting sick with pneumonia and bronchitis.

Vulnerable people, including those suffering from respiratory diseases, heart disease or diabetes, are the most at risk for health problems during such weather, the ministry said.

People should avoid breathing cold air directly and moving suddenly from warm to cold areas and should breathe through their nose, the ministry said.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority has warned of strong dusty winds in Greater Cairo, Lower Egypt, north Upper Egypt, north coast, and Sinai on Sunday, which are inhabited by millions of people.

Sandstorms also hit the Suez Canal cities and the Gulf of Suez.

Throughout the day, sandstorms reduced vision to 1,500 metres from 3,000 metres in Greater Cairo, according to the EMA.

Spring in Egypt is typically warm, but also known for variable weather and strong sandstorms.

This especially includes the sand-filled “Khamasin” windstorms that hit Egypt and the Levant in Spring that reduce visibility and exacerbate health conditions.

The EMA has advised citizens to stay away from homes, billboards and light poles and close windows and doors tightly during sandstorms.

Drivers should also exercise caution, especially on highways, due to poor visibility.

So far, the EMA has not forecast further sandstorms during the coming days of this week, saying that the winds are expected to move east.

Warm weather will prevail across Egypt during the day this week, but nights are expected to be cold, the EMA said earlier.

Lower Egypt, Greater Cairo, northwestern coasts, north Upper Egypt, and South Sinai will see warm days, while hot weather will prevail over south Upper Egypt.

Greater Cairo and Lower Egypt will see highs of 21-27 degrees Celsius and lows of 10-13 degrees until next Thursday.

The northern coast is expected to see highs of 19-26 degrees and lows of 10-14, while South Sinai will see highs of 25-28 and lows of 15-16.

North Upper Egypt will see highs of 25-32 and lows of 9-11, while southern Upper Egypt will see highs of 32-34 and lows of 12-18.

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