Saudi Arabia’s petrochemist smog kills 100 people in the Gulf, says World Health Organization
Saudi Arabia has officially blamed its own chemical pollution for a deadly air pollution disaster that killed 100 people and injured nearly 200, officials said on Sunday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the deadly dust had been “very heavy” over the kingdom and that it had killed more than 100 people since Thursday, with hundreds more still missing.
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Press Agency said the death toll included those who died in the worst-hit city of Jiddah and a nearby hospital.
It said the latest air quality alert was the second for the kingdom since January, which also saw the death of an infant.
The Saudi health ministry said that while there had been no new cases of air pollution related to the incident, it had warned of possible risks for those with respiratory problems.
The kingdom has been grappling with a growing number of smog problems in recent months, exacerbated by a sharp drop in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
The latest health warning came after WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the world should take precautions to reduce the harmful impact of climate change on people and the environment.
Saudi officials had previously said they would increase efforts to limit air pollution from power plants and cement factories, and increase pollution-control measures, after a series of pollution events during last year’s coronavirus pandemic.AFP