Severe weather in Egypt brings floods, power cuts and casualties

Ahram Online , Monday 26 Oct 2015

Heavy rain and storms hit both the north and south of the country leading to street flooding, power cuts and deaths

Cars and buses are seen in a main street after heavy rainfall in Alexandria, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Daily life was paralysed in parts of Egypt on Sunday and Monday as stormy weather and heavy rain, as well as poor infrastructure, caused power cuts, accidents and street flooding.

In Alexandria, five people were killed on Sunday in incidents caused by the weather, and on Monday a four-storey building in the eastern district of Raml collapsed completely, although there were no recorded casualties.

Further south on the Red Sea, a fire broke out among trees in front of Hurghada International Airport on Monday after an electric cable that served lampposts in the area exploded due to rain. The fire was subsequently put out and power restored.

Flights at the airport nonetheless had to be redirected from the new terminal to the old terminal, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported, after rain water began leaking through the departure hall in the old terminal.

On the highway connecting Hurghada with Gouna, another major resort town on the Red Sea, a bus overturned on Sunday night due to the rain, injuring five passengers.

On the other side of the Red Sea, the emergency level was raised to the maximum in South Sinai governorate due to bad weather. All of towns in the govenorate were hit by heavy rain, especially Saint Catherine and Ras Sudr. In some places, sand and rocks fell on highways, while a dust storm hit the city of Taba on the western border, hindering vision for drivers on the international highway, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

Three highways in South Sinai were closed to prevent accidents.

In Nuweiba and Taba, the level of rainfall reached 50cm, and the Nuweiba-Taba road was sealed off. Sharm El-Sheikh port was also closed on Sunday due to the heavy rains, fast winds, and low visibility, before being reopened after the weather improved. Many of the city's roads were also waterlogged.

In Daqahliya in the Nile Delta water accumulated outside the governorate administration building in the city of Mansoura on Sunday night, prompting anger from residents. The town of Ras El-Bar, once a popular vacation destination, witnessed street flooding, as water reached a level of 30 centimetres on Sunday, the city's local authority told Al-Ahram Ahram website.

The city of Damietta also saw flooding in its main streets.

The south of Egypt was not spared the impact of the bad weather. In Luxor governorate, internet connections, power and water were cut off on Sunday due to heavy rains.

In the neighbouring governorate of Aswan, a state of emergency was declared on Sunday after heavy rainfall; six people were injured after a clay wall collapsed due to the rain.

Medical manager Ihab Hanafy also told Al-Ahram Arabic that a dust storm on Sunday in the city of Aswan led to 32 scorpion bites. The injured were treated in hospital.

The head of Egypt's Meteorological Authority, Ahmed Abdel-Aal, told Ahram Online that the damage seen around the country, especially in Alexandria, was due to poor infrastructure rather than unusual levels of rainfall.

Abdel-Aal said it is too early to predict whether the coming winter - which starts 21 December - will see unusual amounts of rainfall.

The unstable, rainy weather is expected to continue through Tuesday.

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