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"At last, we had a chance to experience it - a dust storm! It's a large amount of sand and dust swallowing everything on the way. At first, we didn't know what was going on. It started on September 10, 2006 at about 2 pm. A big storm, one that hasn't hit for ages, was approaching the centre very quickly." This is how police officers of the Slovenian contingent described this rare meteorological phenomenon. They also took pictures of it (see below).

The dust storm did not cause any damage at JIPTC (Jordan International Police Training Center). However, all staff including cadets sheltered themselves in buildings. According to news reports, the storm caused much more road accidents leaving 2 people dead and 9 injured, 4 of them severely.

In January 2006 the Slovenian Police sent the third group of new police officers to the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC): Aleksander Majhenič, Gregor Hodnik, Allen Lorbek, Matjaž Marolt and Tomaž Kapus. They help to train Iraqi police together with other police instructors from 15 countries. The training centre is located in the desert an hour from the capital Amman and is called Muwaqqr by the local people. It is run by the Coalition Provisional Authority and operates under the management of CPATT (Civilian Police Assistance Training Team) in Bagdad. Slovenia has been participating in the training of future Iraqi police officers since 2004.


"It looked like an approaching rain storm. The sky was overcast predicting first rainy days. Why first rainy days? Because it hadn't rained in that area for seven months! No single raindrop had fallen. Our Jordan friends seemed worried and that was not a good sign. So we, international instructors, got a bit worried as well. And then it started," says Allen Lorbek and adds: "First there was strong warm wind blowing like a hairdryer. Imagine a hairdryer blowing at full power towards you. You see, the wind was so warm. Then first dust reached us. It reaches every opening of your body, especially your nose and eyes. Then you realize why local people always wear a "hata". This is an Arabic headscarf that can be mostly seen in movies on terror where it is worn by terrorists covering their faces, or in tourist brochures advertising travel to the Middle East. Originally, however, the ''hata'' is not designed to cover terrorist faces but to protect the face and the hair from all kinds of weather conditions you can only experience in the desert."

puscavskiVihar02"As the storm was approaching, it was getting very difficult to breathe. Our eyes were turning red and burnt. Sunlight was vanishing and the sky turned red. All of a sudden all we could see was red, the sky was full of dust and sand. It got warmer by at least 5 degrees centigrade," Lorbek describes.




He says the dust storm was an interesting performance by Mother Nature and adds: "Although it's absolutely fascinating, you'd better shelter yourself in a building and wait there until the storm is gone. The storm lasted about half an hour; then the dust whirl and the wind declined and there were a few drops of dusty rain."




According to Lorbek, the air then started getting clearer and in 40 minutes everything looked like nothing had happened except that the dust and sand had been brought by the storm. Life went on normally yet carwash services were very busy washing cars.



"Now, have you got a better idea of what a dust storm is all about? Through this article we wanted to show you the other side of life and work at JIPTC in Jordan. Well, it needs saying that such events don't occur on a daily basis. But when they do, life stops completely for some time," police instructor at the Jordan training centre Allen Lorbek finished his story.


Best regards from the third generation of Slovenian police officers seconded to JIPTC in Jordan.

Drafted by Allen Lorbek,
police instructor at JIPTC