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Epic Sandstorm Turns Much Of Middle East Into Post-Apocalyptic Landscape

This is not a sepia filter. This is real life.

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If you were wondering what it looks like when a mile-high wall of sand hits a city, look no further.

View this video on YouTube

Yousry Aref

Egyptian photographer Yousry Aref recorded the video in his hometown in Aswan, southern Egypt. He told the website Egyptian Streets it was the largest sandstorm the city had seen in decades.

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Just to give you a sense of what Cairo normally looks like, here are some before and after shots.

Cairo today vs Cairo normally. The dust and wind are really real.

Tamer El-Ghobashy@TamerELGFollow

Cairo today vs Cairo normally. The dust and wind are really real.

6:31 AM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

That is no sepia Instagram filter. That is all sand.

@TamerELG @ahmed هذا المنظر من غرفتي في الفندق الفرق يومين.

دلع المفتي@dalaaalmouftiFollow

@TamerELG @ahmed
هذا المنظر من غرفتي في الفندق الفرق يومين.

6:40 AM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Egyptians posted hundreds of photos of their barely visible cities.

You can not see nothing , no effects in the dust storm in #Cairo now #Blogger

Zeinobia@ZeinobiaFollow

You can not see nothing , no effects in the dust storm in #Cairo now #Blogger

9:00 AM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

I am actually wearing a kuffeya over my mouth and nose while inside the house. Dust everywhere. Even in food & drink.

Mai Sirry@maisirryFollow

I am actually wearing a kuffeya over my mouth and nose while inside the house. Dust everywhere. Even in food & drink.

1:47 PM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Cairo today, everyone. You're looking at the Nile and Maspero building is on the left. (by @3mo_shehab)

Mina Fayek@minafayekFollow

Cairo today, everyone. You're looking at the Nile and Maspero building is on the left. (by @3mo_shehab)

1:26 PM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Jerusalem's landmarks were barely visible.

#Alaqsa #Mosque is seen in #Jerusalem as a #sandstorm hits city #AA #alAqsaMosque

Anadolu Images@anadoluimagesFollow

#Alaqsa #Mosque is seen in #Jerusalem as a #sandstorm hits city #AA #alAqsaMosque

5:46 PM - 10 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

And in many places flights were cancelled due to the strong winds and poor visibility.

Kinda dusty here. Flights cancelled in Israel & I just cleared half the Sinai out my kitchen. Lock your windows!

Quentin Sommerville@sommervillebbcFollow

Kinda dusty here. Flights cancelled in Israel & I just cleared half the Sinai out my kitchen. Lock your windows!

8:39 AM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

The sandstorm, known in the region as Khamsin, is caused by winds carrying dust and sand from the Sahara Desert in North Africa northwards. While the sandstorms happen almost yearly, meteorologists say these are the worst storms the region has seen in years.

Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry said air pollution levels were the country's worst in five years and that the storm would last into Wednesday night. Egypt's Environment Ministry also issued a warning for people to stay indoors and to cover their faces while outdoors.

Sheera Frenkel is a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed News based in San Francisco. She has reported from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and across the Middle East. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 4A53 A35C 06BE 5339 E9B6 D54E 73A6 0F6A E252 A50F

Contact Sheera Frenkel at sheera.frenkel@buzzfeed.com.

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