In this week's podcast, join your host Rhiannon Phillips, our Middle East and North Africa Associate Analyst along with Valeria Scuto, our Middle East and North Africa Analyst, and Anastasia Chisholm, our Middle East and North Africa Associate Analyst to discuss the recent increase in sandstorms over the Middle East and North Africa region.
Sandstorms across Iraq and the wider region over recent months have generated disruptions to travel and business operations and prompted a surge in hospital admissions. Though not a new phenomenon, dust and sandstorms in the region are becoming more frequent and severe in their intensity against the backdrop of climate change, population growth and associated conditions including dams along key waterways, overuse of river waters, overgrazing and deforestation.
Developments highlight a crucial need for more cohesive national and regional mitigation and resilience strategies. However, efforts among and between regional governments to cooperate on this issue have so far been unsuccessful in addressing the negative consequences of the dust storms and broader shifts in regional weather patterns. As such, businesses operating in the region will continue to face operational and supply chain risks in the coming months, as well as the likely longer-term decline in overall workforce health and growing climate-related displacement.