Egyptians improvise to keep cool during heatwave

Marina Barsoum , Wednesday 27 May 2015

People are doing all they can to survive in temperatures that have peaked at 46 Celsius

Egyptians drinking cold juices to stay hydrated during hot weather (Photo: Marina Barsoum)

A heatwave across Egypt peaked at 46 Celsius on Wednesday, leading Cairenes to try all possible measures to keep cool.

A sandstorm has followed the unprecedented heat peak in this year's summer season, covering all of Cairo.

The sandstorm hit Cairo at mid-day leaving many Cairenes with breathing difficulties and the city with yellowish skies.


Moving around the streets of Cairo, almost everyone carried a can of cold drink or a frozen bottle of water.

You would also find juice shops jammed with people gasping for a cold drink.

Egyptian Cairenes surviving heat peak at 2 p.m. on Wednesday May 27, 2015 (Photo: Marina Barsoum)

Meanwhile, some other people had new measures to keep surviving the heat and dust.  

"Before leaving home I decided to wear damp clothes because I knew today the weather would be awful, I also have enough cold water and juices to keep my young daughter hydrated," 37-year-old housewife Hanaa Fadel told Ahram Online.

Fadel along with her young daughter were among hundreds people who have been using the metro to avoid the sun.

"On a typical dusty and hot day I avoid taking outside public transportation such as buses or taxis, and I prefer to use the metro as it is air conditioned. I also carry my cold water bottle and my sunglasses everywhere I go," said Hussein Ali, a 50-year-old man.

Some others had no option but cope with this weather.

Egyptian police conscript while serving cold drinks during the Wednesday May 27, 2015 heat peak (Photo:Marina Barsoum)

Undergraduate student Fatma Ibrahim told Ahram Online that she just had to take a cold bath and get out into this weather as her final exam was due at 2pm.

"I can't imagine how we will be able to concentrate in our exam in such weather," said Ibrahim.

40-year-old street vendor Hassan Hamdy, who has to stay all day under the sun, said: "If I had another source of income I wouldn't have to endure this weather."   

The ministry of health has called on Egyptians, especially the elderly and children, to avoid going out in the sun.

People should wear hats and make sure they drink plenty of water, or juice, throughout the day to stay hydrated, the ministry said on its official website.

Dust covering Cairo governorate following a hot weather on Wednesday May 27,2015 (Photo: Marina Barsoum)

If any person suffers from vomiting, headaches or dehydration, especially among the elderly and children, they should immediately head to the nearest doctor, it said.

For its part, the electricity ministry has urged against the excessive use of electrical appliances like washing machines and vacuum cleaners, as well as air conditioning units, to avoid too much pressure on the electricity grid, and subsequent power cuts.  

The heatwave, which started on Sunday, is expected to end on Thursday. The Meteorological Authority said the temperature is expected to cool down starting late Wednesday. 

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