How the deadly Haj disaster has spread fear across the world

Written by By Alena Sazonova, CNN Maldives, Guatemala, South Africa and Mexico are among a growing list of international destinations set to reopen in the coming weeks and months after a devastating volcanic eruption…

How the deadly Haj disaster has spread fear across the world

Written by By Alena Sazonova, CNN

Maldives, Guatemala, South Africa and Mexico are among a growing list of international destinations set to reopen in the coming weeks and months after a devastating volcanic eruption left many in their respective countries reeling.

Some areas have been cut off for months, but now large swathes of Northern India , southern Bangladesh and China’s Yunnan province are set to open as well, one of the countries which suffered no fatalities or major damage.

The imposing Taklamakan volcano in the Karakoram Himalayas — a huge caldera formed by previous eruptions — was engulfed by ash on November 16, the largest blast seen in centuries.

It spewed a pall of white and grey smoke for some 46 hours, leaving people stranded and shuttered businesses. It caused extensive damage and silted up waterways and streams, which are now drying up, scientists say.

Gas used for cooking also burned like firewood, making it so difficult to find clean water.

Access to schools and health facilities is still hampered, with up to 20,000 displaced people still awaiting shelter, relief aid and medical attention.

CNN’s Richard Quest will take us to Egypt’s highlands to follow the death and destruction from last month’s eruption of Mount Merapi.

Aviation a priority

After Kazakstan’s government reopened airports on December 28, flights returned to the Gulf country for the first time since September 25, marking the first time flights from China, Russia and the UAE were able to land in the country in a month.

Afghanistan has also seen some progress, with the government estimating that as many as 200,000 tourists could return to the war-torn country before the end of 2019, which is one of the countries hardest hit by the last month’s earthquakes

Elsewhere, tourists and international tourists are slowly taking to some of the countries hit by natural disasters last year.

A small group of elite tourists will be able to visit India’s top sites during the first two weeks of February.

The Radha Krishna Temple, a Hindu shrine in Ganges state in the state of Uttar Pradesh, has welcomed back its pilgrims, after a strong sandstorm that paralysed operations last month.

Less fortunate countries, however, are still trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to move forward, even as they regain some stability in terms of airports and foreign tourism.

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