Sandstorm (also known as duststorm) is an environmental phenomenon when strong winds lift large amount of sand and dust fromarid or semi-arid regions into the atmosphere and disrupts the daily way of life. Considered a seasonal ordeal in the North Asia, springtime winds direct sandstorms from the Gobi Desert, that borders China and Mongolia, towards the Korean peninsula and in 2023, it reached farther East to Japan.

On 01 May, a sandstorm in the US triggered over 70 crashes along Interstate-55 in Illinois that resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. Rise in the intensity and the frequency of sandstorms due to higher temperatures and lower precipitation in the Gobi wilderness had prompted the Chinese authorities to issue a warning in Shanghai’s Pudong district in April 2023. Similar warnings may also be issued by
other countries witnessing sandstorms as fine dust particles/PM10 levels which increases during such storms pose serious health risk as it is easy to inhale. Besides health risk, recurring sandstorms cause operational disruptions and affects overall productivity of business organisations.

Key Risks Involved

Key Risks

Vulnerable population groups

Vulnerable 1

Locations Vulnerable to Regular Sandstorms


Locations Impacted by Recent Sandstorms in March-April 2023

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For Organisations:

  • As dust particles tend to damage electrical appliances, it is advised to cover open ends/gaps along doors and windowpanes and use protective covers for electronic and delicate equipment.
  • Advised to remain updated on weather warnings issued by respective National Meteorological Departments and accordingly review business operational plans during sandstorm season (spring and summer months).
  • It is also advised to prepare for adequate power backups.
  • Employers are advised to maintain readiness to undertake flexible working arrangements.
  • MitKat advises to develop a plan to ensure business continuity during and after the sandstorm and preparedness for any emergency.

For Individuals:

  • During a sandstorm, advised to reduce outdoor activities as much as possible.
  • Advised to wear masks and protective goggles while stepping outside.
  • Close doors, windows, and vents. If possible, stay in an air-conditioned room.
  • Those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular problems are advised to stock up on preventer medication and keep emergency numbers handy.
  • Maintain proper diet and hydration. Frequent baths or splashes of water on face are also recommended.
  • If caught in a sandstorm while driving, reduce speed and turn on the recirculation air intake to minimise the amount of dust entering your car.

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