Lebanon's unprecedented sandstorm shuts down schools

2015-09-09 13:11
Cars drive on Dbayeh Highway, north of Beirut as a sandstorm blows over the Lebanese capital. (Joseph Eid, AFP)

Cars drive on Dbayeh Highway, north of Beirut as a sandstorm blows over the Lebanese capital. (Joseph Eid, AFP)

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Beirut - Lebanon's unprecedented, lethal sandstorm, now in its third day, forced the government on Wednesday to shut schools and public institutions over health concerns.

The sandstorm caused the deaths of four people, while sending as many as 2 000 to hospitals due to breathing problems, a Health Ministry official told dpa.

Those who died, including a child, were from eastern and northern Lebanon, the parts of the country hardest hit by the storm.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced the closure of public institutions while Education Minister Elias Bou Saab ordered all private schools to close as well.

In Syria, six people are reported to have died because of the sandstorms, which experts say originated in the country's north-eastern deserts.

In Israel, the authorities have called on the elderly, infirm and pregnant women to stay indoors and said the wider population should avoid physical exertion, Haaretz newspaper reported.

Read more on:    lebanon  |  weather

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