‘Turning day into night’: UN says threat from sand and dust storms spreading

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan: The United Nations warned on Wednesday (Nov 15) that the number of sand and dust storms is increasing “dramatically” with Central Asia most hit by the dangerous phenomena.

Toxic sand storms have plagued parts of desert and steppe-covered Central Asia and North Africa and the UN said they are a threat to life.

The UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is meeting for five days in the historic city of Samarkand, just under a week before the COP28 climate change summit opens in Dubai.

“The sight of rolling dark clouds of sand and dust engulfing everything in their path and turning day into night is one of nature’s most intimidating spectacles,” Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD’s secretary, said in a statement.

“It is a costly phenomenon that wreaks havoc everywhere from Northern and Central Asia to sub-Saharan Africa.”

The agency said the storms impact areas far beyond their origin and that in some parts of the globe “desert dust doubled in the last century”.

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