CAIRO: Floods in several parts of Egypt have claimed the lives of 15 people in the past four days and left a trail of destroyed houses in its wake.
On Wednesday the body of a policeman was discovered in North Sinai after he was killed by the flash floods. The body of Eid Salah Ramadan, 22, of the Central Sinai Central Security Department was discovered in the area of El-Bert south of Rafah.
In Aswan, 720 homeowners will be compensated with LE 25,000 each for the destruction of their homes. Homeowners in other governorates will be compensated with the same amount. Initially they were to be paid LE 15,000 but the amount was raised.
Three-hundred and twenty of these homes were completely destroyed while the remaining 400 were partially damaged in the flooding.
President Hosni Mubarak paid a visit to devastated areas in Aswan Wednesday while Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif visited Al-Arish in Northern Sinai to assess the damage there. The visits come in the wake of criticism by affected residents that the government response to the floods has been less than exemplary.
Civil society groups have organized a campaign to send aid shipments to the areas affected by the torrential rains and floods and the victims who have complained of the government’s slow response.
The campaign is spearheaded by the Civil Forum for Human Rights, but also includes political opposition groups, including the Kefaya Movement for Change and the leftist Tagammu Party.
Head of the Civil Forum for Human Rights Essam Saqr told Daily News Egypt, “We have already begun receiving donations from organizations and private citizens in the form of medicine, blankets and foodstuffs, and we are trying to send out the first shipment as fast as we can.
Five governorates have been hit with the floods since Sunday, North and South Sinai, The Red Sea, Aswan and Qena, with strong rains in Suez, Ain Sokhna and Ismailia.
Four members of the Tarabin Bedouin tribe died Monday night in Central Sinai and three died – two Egyptian women and the British tourist – when their boat overturned in the Nile in Aswan.
Power outages are still the norm in affected areas, though Minister of Electricity Hassan Younis said that electricity had returned to some areas and would return to the other affected areas as soon as the water had been pumped out.
And while the Suez governorate sent extra medical teams to Al-Arish, as well as sending 20,000 loaves of bread daily to North and South Sinai, there is a palpable sense of anger in Al-Arish over the government response to the crisis.
Around 1,000 residents of El-Tor in Sinai protested the government’s response to the crisis Wednesday. They used trucks to block the main roads and threw stones at police. El-Tor is one of the towns most affected by the floods. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. According to AFP, two policemen were injured in the clashes.
“There is a sense of dissatisfaction amongst Sinai residents that authorities once again are failing to deal with the flooding appropriately, North Sinai Tagammu party member Khalil Jabr Sawarkeh previously told Daily News Egypt.
“The state has disappeared. It has not done a thing except direct traffic and nothing else, he also said, “It builds fancy office buildings and offers no services.