Middle East

Major sandstorm hits UAE, blotting out Dubai sky

Migrant laborers, some wearing face masks, work on a construction site during a sandstorm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2 April 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption Residents have been unable to see Dubai's famous skyline

A major sandstorm has hit the United Arab Emirates, blotting out Dubai's famous skyline.

High winds have whipped up desert sands, severely reducing visibility and causing residents to suffer breathing difficulties.

The storm has led to flight diversions from Dubai's International Airport, leaving many passengers stranded.

Abu Dhabi police say the storm has caused a serious traffic accident and forecasters predict it could last days.

Image copyright AFP / getty images
Image caption Visibility has been reduced as low as 500 metres
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There are reports of traffic accidents caused by the storm

Although sandstorms are not unusual in the region, the extreme weather has shocked some locals.

"Last time, I have seen [a storm], it was not up to this," said one Dubai resident. "I felt very bad, and I hear that there were some accidents already on Dubai's roads."

Abu Dhabi police say a 24-year-old has been airlifted to hospital after being seriously injured in the traffic accident caused by the reduced visibility.

The United Arab Emirates' National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology warned of reduced visibility of as little as 500 meters.

Image copyright AFP / getty images
Image caption The storm could last until the weekend

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