It took just minutes for a heavy sandstorm to wreak havoc in the ancient Silk Road city of Dunhuang in north-western China.
- The wall of sand was estimated to be at least 100 metres high as it swept over the city in Gansu province
- It turned the sky yellow and reduced the visibility to less than 5 metres
- Local traffic police directed stranded vehicles to leave the expressway
Wind whipped up a wall of sand, estimated to be at least 100 metres tall over the city in Gansu Province, on the edge of the Gobi Desert.
The sandstorm turned the sky yellow and reduced the visibility to less than 5 metres in some areas.
Local traffic police imposed traffic controls at toll gates and directed stranded vehicles to leave the expressway and stop in the service areas.
The video released by state broadcaster China Central Television comes after dust swept through the Chinese capital Beijing in May earlier this year.
Traffic was snarled and more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were cancelled.
Beijing faces regular sandstorms in March and April because it is also close to the Gobi Desert, as well as due to the effects of deforestation and soil erosion throughout northern China.
China has planted a “great green wall” of trees in an attempt to trap incoming dust.
The country has also tried to create air corridors that channel the wind and allow sand and other pollutants to pass through more quickly.
The actions have reduced storms intensity but the expansion of cities and industries has put constant pressure on the environment throughout China.
Dunhuang was once a frontier garrison on the Silk Road which is known today for the Mogao Caves, a complex of 492 grottoes decorated with Buddhist statuary and frescoes.