Israel’s emergency medical services reported that at least 630 Israelis have been treated for shortness of breath and a deterioration of existing heart diseases as a result of the sandstorm.
The Health Ministry renewed Thursday its warning, calling the public to refrain from strained physical activity and advising elderly people, children and pregnant women to stay indoors.
The Environmental Protection Ministry said that unusually high pollution levels were recorded throughout the country, with nearly 1,450 micrograms per cubic meter recorded in Jerusalem, about 140 times higher than normal days.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH)URI DAYAN, Hebrew University
Now the situation is lasting for a long time relatively.I mean we are used to dust storms not lasting more than 24 hours or a day and a half at most. This time it lasted more because it is drifting and lingering over the Eastern Mediterranean due to the very week wind over our region.
A huge cloud of dust has been spreading over large parts of the Middle Ease since Monday, engulfing parts of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Cyprus. The storm cost the lives of at least 12 people in the region.
On Wednesday, the storm was heading towards Egypt, where four ports in the Gulf of Suez were closed due to the poor weather conditions.
According to Israel’s Meteorological Service, the sandstorm is expected to begin to gradually subside on Saturday.