Traveling through sand and dust- AFRICA
While in West Africa, the most violent and unpredictable phenomena you can come across are the sand storms. Dirt or sand particles are lifted into the air by high winds, letting loose a turbulent cloud of particles and reducing visibility to nearly nothing within just seconds. Almost all the sandstorms have the ability to cause damage, injuries and deaths. It is of great importance that you get to know what to do in case you are faced with a situation in which a wall of sand or dust is racing towards you.
Pay attention to the warnings of the sand/dust storms
Dust storms usually occur on hot days of summer under specific conditions. Their possibility of occurrence can usually be predicted by the meteorologists; thus before moving out, you should tune in to the local radio or TV broadcasts. In case they are predicted, delay your travel or consider re-routing.
When you are in a storm prone area such as West Africa, move along with air tight goggles for your eyes protection and a mask which is designed to filter out small particulates. A water supply may be very helpful in case you get stuck in the storm. You can easily get dehydrated by the high temperatures associated with the dust storms.
Outrun the dust or sandstorm
In case you spot a dust storm from a distance and have a vehicle or can access one, you can choose to outrun or deviate around it. Some dust storms travel at a speed which is more than 75 miles per hour, while others travel much slower than that. In case the storm catches up with you, just stop and prepare for it.
In case the visibility drops to 300 ft or less while you are in transit, pull off the road and turnoff the headlights, brake lights and turn signals. The purpose of turning off the lights is to prevent any possibilities of rear end collisions which would result from confusion of other drivers who would mistakenly think they are following your lights.
Take cover and stay out
Do not try to budge about in a blinding sand or dust storm because you will be unable to detect any potential hazards which may be in your path. In case you are in a sturdy structure or a house, you should stay inside; or if you can reach it in the shortest time possible, go ahead and get there before the storm catches up with you.
Immediately wear a mask
In case you have got a respirator mask, put it on. If you haven’t got the mask, you can use a bandanna or any other piece of cloth to cover your nose and mouth. It should be moistened a little bit in case the available water is enough. Petroleum jelly can help your mucus membranes not to dry out when it is applied at the inside of the nostrils.
Guard your eyes
Ensure that you get your eyes protected with air tight goggles. In case you don’t have this type of goggles, you can tie a piece of cloth around your eyes and ears so as to protect them.
Defend yourself from flying objects
Just as esta can’t miss on a passport, so are the flying objects in a sandstorm. Cover all your body so as to protect it from flying dust or sand. Whilst sand propelled by wind can hurt, some heavy objects can also be transported along in the storm. In case you fail to find any shelter, ensure that you stay as low as possible and protect the head with the arms or a pillow, if it is available.
The tips given above can help you while traveling in sand and dust while in Africa. However, if there is any possibility of avoiding the sand storm, that would be the wisest choice instead of tasting your fate. Stay in groups in case you are not traveling alone. Also avoid use of low flying aircrafts during times of dust and sand storms or if there are any signs of occurrence of such.
Author Bio: This article was contributed by Sarah Crompton. She is currently working for esta. She is much interested towards traveling, so she has been writing articles on such category. At lone time she likes to drift around on her bike with couple of friends. She just loves traveling, shopping, reviewing products and giving her best thoughts to help others. If you have any information or queries regarding traveling or shopping then ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org