Egypt's top prosecutor orders report into 'failure to manage' heavy rain in New Cairo

Ahram Online , Saturday 28 Apr 2018

The New Cairo suburb was the hardest hit by severe rains that flooded roads and apartments Tuesday and shut down major highways in and outside the capital

New Cairo
Flash floods caused by the downpour on a street near the Petrified Forest nature reserve in New Cairo, Egypt, April 26, 2018 (Photo: official Facebook of Egypt's Ministry of Environment)

Egyptian Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek has instructed the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) to prepare a report on state entities’ “failures” in dealing with flooding in the upmarket district of New Cairo this week.

Earlier on Saturday the ACA, a state body responsible for enforcing laws and regulations within state bodies, suspended a number of New Cairo officials over the issue, and had referred the suspension cases to the prosecutor-general.  

In an official statement on Saturday afternoon, Sadek ordered the ACA deliver a detailed report on “the failure in dealing with the accumulation of rain water in New Cairo,” including the role of entities and officials from the suburb's service body, as well as other relevant officials, in order to allow the prosecution to continue its investigations.

In its official statement announcing the suspension of the officials, the ACA said the decision was made after inspections showed that heavy rainfall exceeded the accommodation capacity of lift stations, causing power cuts in the upscale district.

The authority added that one of the causes of a "severe malfunction in the drainage system" of New Cairo was that lift stations were impaired due to the rain.

It added that it has decided to review the structure of cabinet’s crisis management centre, mandating it with new power and mechanisms to "confront any crisis faced nationwide" upon orders by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

“This has built up to a criminal offense that harms public funds and calls for legal accountability,” the statement stressed, mentioning the “lack of professionalism and vocationalism in crisis management between the housing, electricity, transportation ministries and Cairo governorate during the crisis.”

The statement did not include the names of officials who have been suspended but mentioned that the responsibility lies with New Cairo’s service body, the head of Greater Cairo Sanitation, and others.

Heavy rains this week caused flooding around the capital, and shut down major highways in and outside the capital.

The New Cairo suburb was among the hardest hit districts, and residents took their anger to social media, posting pictures of damaged property and flooded streets.

Others criticised the government’s crisis management in videos posted on social media sites.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that he understands the suffering felt by Egyptians in the aftermath of the bad weather and pledged the government would step up efforts towards preparedness in the future.

The ACA statement added that, on the order of President El-Sisi, the body has decided to review the structure of the cabinet’s crisis management centre, mandating it with new power and mechanisms to “confront any crisis faced nationwide.”

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