CAIRO: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday asked his Cabinet to modify the personal status law so the families of the victims of disasters such as last week s ferry sinking can more quickly receive death certificates and government aid.
Mubarak s measure was aimed at easing the suffering of families who have loudly condemned government negligence in the wake of the ferry disaster, which claimed nearly 1,000 lives.
Presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said the suggested amendment to the personal status law would reduce the time from one year to 15 days to receive death certificates of people missing from airplane or ship accidents.
Families cannot collect insurance money or emergency financial aid until they have death certificates.
Mubarak has pledged emergency financial aid of 30,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$5,230; -4,390) for the victims families.
The Al-Salaam Boccaccio 98 sank Feb. 3 after a fire broke out on its journey from the Saudi port of Dubah to the Egyptian port of Safaga. It was carrying around 1,400 people, mostly Egyptian workers returning from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
Grieving family members waited for hours at the Safaga port, desperate for information, and clashed angrily with police when news was slow to come. They complained of government negligence and demanded better treatment and their rights as victims. AP