People, Environment

Sand Storms Inflict Heavy Damage on Southern City

Sand Storms Inflict Heavy Damage on Southern CitySand Storms Inflict Heavy Damage on Southern City

Dust storms, which have crippled the southeastern city of Rigan in Kerman Province since last week, have inflicted at least $800,000 in damage, said the city's governor.

Speaking to IRNA, Amin Baqeri also said the bulk of the damage was borne by the agriculture sector.

"Dust has covered orchards and palm groves, as well as damaged wheat and barley farms," he said.

The sand storms forced the closure of schools for a day and disrupted traffic, including on the key Rigan-Chabahar road.

Pointing to the worsening water scarcity and desertification in the region, Baqeri appealed to the authorities to provide financial support to start implementing measures to mitigate the impacts of dust storms and compensate farmers.

Located 285 kilometers from the center of Kerman Province, Rigan is surrounded by 360 villages. The city has been repeatedly inflicted by sand and dust storms that affect everyday life.

Last summer, massive sand storms buried over a dozen villages and caused upward of $8 billion in damage. Farms and livestock were the worst hit.

The near-total desiccation of Jazmourian and Hamoun wetlands in southwestern Iran has turned the once thriving lagoons into major massive sources of dust and sand storms in not just the region, but the entire country.

Excessive dam construction, depletion of groundwater resources, declining precipitation and global warming have exacerbated the plight of residents in the entire southern parts of the country by expanding dust storm hotspots to Yazd, Isfahan, Khuzestan, Bushehr and Kerman provinces.

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