THE Canary Islands have come to a complete standstill as they become engulfed by a sandstorm.

Airports have closed down since Saturday evening and flights have been cancelled or diverted.

Similarly, schools will be closed for the whole of today, with authorities issuing red alerts and advising people with respiratory problems to stay indoors.

It also comes as 250 residents on Gran Canaria evacuated themselves to the beaches, with fire sweeping through the area. 

Many however did return back to their homes on Sunday morning.

Tourists have been stranded on the islands, with no way of getting home after the half-term break.

Stranded
STRANDED: Airports are at full capacity trying to accommodate all the tourists trying to go home

Many have had to wait at the airports with very little information, until their airlines could notify them of the situation and place them into hotels.

Greg Horsman, 29, was on holiday with his girlfriend and friends on a Tui cruise and was due to fly home on Saturday evening.

He said: “We were in the airport for five hours and I was frustrated because Tui couldn’t help us or do anything until the airport declared that they were closed which they did at 10.30pm.”

Flights from the UK to the Canaries have also been cancelled, ruining vacations.

Plane Landing
DANGEROUS: Plane tries to land with very poor visibility

Tim Crew, 69, had booked a holiday to Lanzarote with his family after cancelling their previous holiday to Hong Kong and Thailand because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Their British Airways flight from Gatwick on Sunday was cancelled and the family was booked into a hotel.

He said: “It’s one of those things really.

“It’s not great, it’s not how I planned it, it’s not what I want, but these things happen.”

The sandstorm stretched from the Sahara desert all the way across the sea and over the islands. 

Satelitte
SATELLITE: The sandstorm stretched from the desert across the sea

The colour of the sky has changed as a result, being described by onlookers as orange, yellow or even pink.

Michael Nixon, 50, on holiday with his family in Tenerife described it as a ‘pink dust’ and a ‘yellowish haze’.

The weather is expected to improve from tomorrow.

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