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Smog in South Asia Obstructs Travel, Sends Thousands to Hospitals

Smog in South Asia Obstructs Travel, Sends Thousands to Hospitals

Monday, 13 November, 2017 - 06:00
A man rides a donkey-drawn cart supplying steel rods on a smoggy morning in Lahore, Pakistan November 10, 2017. (Reuters)

Pakistani officials said that two weeks of thick toxic smog has disrupted normal life in parts of Pakistan, with flights canceled, road accidents surging and nearly 15,000 people being hospitalized in and around Lahore.

The thick blanket of grey air and pollutants has enveloped the eastern Pakistani city and several other urban areas for nearly two weeks, bringing visibility to zero most of the day.

The Pakistani crisis is part of a wider smog emergency that has hit neighboring India, forcing authorities in New Delhi on Friday to plan to spray water over the city.

Meteorologists say the pollution surge was triggered by vehicle exhaust fumes, dust and illegal burning of crops.

Jam Sajjad Hussain, a government rescue service official, said that limited visibility has caused over 250 road accidents, killing 14 people and injuring more than 400.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, Kamran Malik, said dozens of flights were delayed, canceled or diverted over the last week or so.

Faisal Zahoor, director general of health for Punjab province said that more than 15,000 smog-affected patients were admitted to hospitals with acute respiratory infections, allergies and other pollution-related ailments in the Lahore area.

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