Footage is circulating the web which at first glance looks like something from an apocalyptic movie.
A dense, colossal cloud of filthy dust creeps over the horizon, discolouring the sky as it rolls closer and closer to the camera. Poles and trees can be seen quaking under the might of the storm.
The cloud appears to swallow everything in its path, blocking out any natural light as it passes directly over the cameraman’s head. The sky blazes orange, much like it was burning or bleeding or both.
However, this is no Hollywood blockbuster. The footage is in fact very real and very frightening.
Watch the nightmarish video below:
The footage was taken by courageous Muhammad Noman Afzal as he stood on top of his roof in Toba Teja Singh, Pakistan.
While many of us would have immediately ran for shelter, the plucky 23-year-old captured this unique perspective of an approaching sandstorm with the use of a simple GoPro.
As reported by Pakistan Today, a thick, dangerous haze of dust covered some parts of Pakistan during the week beginning June 18, causing disruptions and threats to human health.
The Pakistan Air Quality Initiative warned citizens ‘the river of dust’ billowing through Punjab was causing hazardous air pollution. Those living in Lahore, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur were advised to remain indoors.
According to Pakistan Today, some people in affected areas experienced respiratory problems. Motorists were also forced to turn their headlights on during daytime hours due to low visibility.
Tragically, these sandstorms have also resulted in loss of life. According to Arab News, three young girls died after losing their way in stormy conditions.
10-year-old Tahira, six-year-old Allah Moaafi and 11-year-old Suraya were playing outdoors in Toba Sher Wala, Fort Abbas Tehsil in the Bahawalnagar District, when they became caught in a sandstorm.
The girls became disorientated, running from the village and into the desert where they died of ‘dehydration and exhaustion’. It had reportedly been difficult to track the children as their footprints had been erased by the storm.
Police officer Abd Al-Razzaq informed Arab News:.
The girls lost their way due to the storm and got stranded in the desert where they lost their lives since they got exhausted and couldn’t find a drop of water.
— Umair Peerzada (@umairpeerzada) June 22, 2018
The bad weather reportedly prevented the authorities from using a helicopter when searching for the girls.
However, Tahira and Allah Moaafi’s father, Zafar Iqbal, believes more effort would have been made to find the missing children if they had been from a more affluent background:
Being poor is a crime.
Nobody listens to us. If we were rich, everybody would have come to our rescue.
Another villager said:
Had the girls belonged to upper Punjab, the whole law enforcement machine would have jumped into action and searched for them.
But we are poor people, living far away from the eyes of the rulers. We are the worthless people of South Punjab whose voices never reach Lahore.
Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this dangerous dust haze.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.