CAIRO/EL-TOR: Four people died, 13 were injured and dozens went missing as a result of flooding caused by heavy rain in Central Sinai Sunday night and Monday.
The area of Wadi El-Amr, near Al-Oja Crossing, was the hardest hit, and entire villages in the area have been evacuated.
Electricity has been cut in the most affected areas and some houses have been destroyed by the flooding, while others have been immersed in high levels of water.
Other reports indicated that the Ras Sidr area on the west coast of the peninsula saw the heaviest flooding on Sunday night, and according to news agency Agence France-Presse, rescue services used rubber rafts to search for the injured and those trapped in their homes.
The four confirmed deaths were all from the Bedouin Tarabin tribe, North Sinai Tagammu party member Khalil Jabr Sawarkeh told Daily News Egypt. Army rescue services have been placed on high alert throughout Sinai.
Government offices and other buildings in Al-Arish, 40 km from the Gaza border, have been evacuated as the floods descended on the outskirts of the city.
The Sinai governor’s office, which was due to host meetings with prominent Bedouin leaders Monday, announced that it had set up an operations room to combat the effects of the flood.
Flooding blocked main roads in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh and heavy rain brought down the ceiling in a part of the airport, an AFP correspondent said.
Parts of Sinai including Taba, Nuweiba and Sharm El-Sheikh experienced power cuts as thousands of tourists in the popular diving resorts spent the night by candle light, in the worst flooding to hit Sinai since January 1994.
Five ports were closed due to bad weather on Monday including Sharm El-Sheikh and Sokhna ports on the mainland.
Sinai is susceptible to torrential rainfall at this time of year, and due to poor or absent drainage, streets are often flooded with water.
Additionally, being a mountainous region, with sharp inclines and declines on the road, the un-drained water travels over large distances.
“There is a sense of dissatisfaction amongst Sinai residents that authorities once again are failing to deal with the flooding appropriately, Sawarkeh said. -Additional reporting by AFP