SULAIMANI – A recent dramatic volcanic eruption in Italy’s Mount Etna has brought possible health effects of volcanic ashes to the general attention in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
A large eruption of Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy) occurred about two weeks ago, showing peaks of intense volcanic activity characterized by explosions, jets hundreds of meters high and seismic activity.
Kurdistan Region’s climate officials are worried that “poisonous” ash columns carried by local winds will arrive in the area causing serious health troubles, particularly during rainfall.
Azhi Chato, spokesperson for the Kurdistan Region's Earthquake and Meteorology Department told local media outlets that the possible release of the toxic gas, coupled with the high probability of rain, could lead to acid rain.
“The gas can be harmful to health if it reaches near the erath’s surface or during rainfall which will lead to acid rain,” Chato said.
People have been alerted by a general alarm caused by national and local mass media. The Kurdistan Region’s population and especially those with respiratory problems such as asthma have been advised by public health and climate specialists to wear masks, limit their outdoor exposure and to reduce physical activity.
Spokesperson for the Kurdistan Region’s Board of Environment, Ahmed Mohammed said “the arrival of the ash columns is based on air speed, it can arrive earlier if the air speed is high. Sulfur dioxide gas will generally remain high in the sky, if it arrived in the Kurdistan Region with a low density and in the absence of rain, it will not be so impactful.”
Italy's Mt. Etna once again erupted on March 24 for the 16th time since Feb. 16, spewing lava and a giant cloud of ash.
Mount Etna, which is 3,326-meter- (10,912-feet-) high, is on the east coast of Sicily. It is over twice the height of Ben Nevis and lies between two of the island’s three most populous cities Messina and Catania.
(Zhyan News Network)