By Menan Khater and Sarah El-Sheikh
Seventeen people, allegedly belonging to specialised committees of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, were arrested Friday on charges of planting two explosive devices and attempting to block rain drainage in Alexandria.
The Interior Ministry said, in an official statement, one bomb exploded near the Al-Atareen police station, but the other one was defused before exploding in the same area.
The statement added that defendants dumped a cement mixture into the drainage canals to block the water and cause floods, consequently causing the repeated flooding in the city. The cabinet allocated EGP 6bn to maintain drainage infrastructure in Alexandria and Beheira in a bid to contain the damages resulting from the floods.
Further, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued a decision to develop drainage systems in Beheira, in meeting with Beheira Governor Mohamed sultan, as well as the Ministers of Irrigation, Local Development, and Population on Saturday.
Fifteen people were killed, including one child, from electrocution due to the floods, and 27 other were injured in Beheira, while two were killed and one was injured in Gharbeya due to the flooding.
One child died, and his sibling was injured in a building collapse in Alexandria due to floods on Friday. The building collapsed when the ceiling of the top floor cracked and fell on its residents, killing three-year-old Mohamed A. and severely injuring his older brother in the head, according to the initial police investigations reported by state-run news agency MENA.
Residents were evacuated until the building is reviewed by the committee for brittle buildings.
Deaths from flooding are a yearly phenomenon, with many coastal and Delta cities flooding during the winter season. It is widely believed that the poor infrastructure is the cause for the repeated yearly deaths.
Since the ouster and banning of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, several incidents have been blamed on the group and its supporters by officials. In April, a spill of phosphate container in Qena was reportedly blamed on “terrorist elements” belonging to the Brotherhood.
The Egyptian Red Crescent announced a state of emergency following the floods in Alexandria and Beheira, and formed working groups to deal with the situation in Wadi el-Natrun in coordination with the Ministries of Social Solidarity, and Health and Population.