Israel, and much of the Middle East, is right now in the thick, humid stomach of a dust storm. This haboob – Arabic for “violent wind” – is wreaking havoc on asthmatics, endurance athletes, and those who enjoy seeing things. Visibility is currently about half a kilometer. Though the dust was brought in by strong winds, those have pretty much died down – now, the dust is simply hanging in the air, refusing to dissipate.

Dust storm over Be'er Sheva. Photo: Ynet
Dust storm over Be’er Sheva. Photo: Ynet

I’m currently picking up a bunch of shifts on the ambulance, and this dust storm has shown itself clearly in my patient calls. Quite a few fainting episodes and asthma attacks. It’s not a treat for the medics, either. In this weather, going on a call to a 4th-floor walk-up apartment is absolutely suffocating. Too many apartments here lack elevators and air conditioning.

Hazy day at the station.
Hazy day at the station.

The radio plays frequent PSAs warning children, the elderly, and pregnant women to stay indoors. Outdoor sports practices are cancelled. People are ornery. Israelis are, in the best of times, a pretty prickly bunch – you don’t want to see them ticked off by a dust storm!

I feel as though this is Israel telling me to get to Australia already (more on the move soon). The Aussie spring rain is calling me!

 

A Perfect Solution To the Haze Problem

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