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Harmattan Season Sees Senegal’s Capital Covered By a Cloud of Dust

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Dakar Has a Dusty Cloud Over its Head

Harmattan saw a cloud of dust cover Senegal’s capital Dakar on Thursday, leaving the city under a fog that made it impossible to see further than a few hundred meters.

The fishing industry — which provides food and jobs for thousands of families in the country has been greatly impacted.

Ibra Ndiaye, a local fisherman, shares just how dangerous the dust can be to those in his profession.

“The dust brings us problems very often. The boats sometimes get lost and the fishermen get lost at sea because they are unable to see anything.”

Harmattan season occurs every year between November and March in West Africa and is caused by the wind that blows from the Sahara Desert into the Gulf of Guinea.

Not Good News During a Pandemic

Dr Oumar Diop, the Head of the Medicine at a health unit in Dakar, appears to expect negative health effects on the population from the season’s dust.

“So in Dakar at the moment, the dust has invaded us and it affects some people who are more vulnerable to it. Those people are asthmatics, people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, people who have chronic bronchitis and people who suffer from COVID. This year we expect to have a lot more patients coming in.”

The dust is forecast to dissipate by the weekend.
Nevertheless, health experts advise residents to wear masks, avoid outdoor activities.

Those who suffer from respiratory conditions — including the new coronavirus infection, are cautioned to take extra care as their symptoms could be exacerbated by the dust in the air.