CAIRO: The Egyptian Meteorological Authority said it sent sufficient warning to the governors of Aswan, North and South Sinai about the recent floods that destroyed large swathes of land in those areas and claimed at least 15 lives.
The Authority’s spokesman, Ali Qotb, told “El-Beit Beitak television show Wednesday evening that he had faxed the relevant governorates reports on Saturday morning about the upcoming whether conditions, predicting floods and torrential downpours for 72 hours.
The excessive rain began Sunday and lasted for three days, destroying around 720 homes in the three most affected governorates. Qotb said the rain levels were equivalent to the combined levels of the past decade.
The flooding and the amount of damage incurred has angered the victims, who have severely criticized the government for its response which they deemed too slow and ineffective.
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, who used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Two policemen were injured in the clashes.
The anger of the residents of Al-Arish in North Sinai was also evident, and led Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, who was inspecting the damage, to only stay for five minutes visiting the victims in a makeshift camp when his security detail warned that trouble could brew because of the victims’ anger.
“Have mercy on us so God will have mercy on you. Where are you and where is the aid? they chanted as Nazif drove into the camp.
Meanwhile, the Alexandria Port Authority decided Thursday to reopen the Alexandria and Dekheila ports, after having closed them down the previous day over concerns that the bad weather could cause collisions between ships.
The Minister of Religious Endowments Hamdi Zaqzouq offered a LE 1 million grant from the ministry to aid the victims of the floods in Sinai and Aswan. The grant was delivered to the Ministry of Social Security and will be used in the state’s efforts to counter the fallout of the floods.
Five governorates have been hit by floods since Sunday: North and South Sinai, the Red Sea, Aswan and Qena, with strong rains in Suez, Ain Sokhna and Ismailia.
Homes have been completely or partially destroyed and there have been massive power and water cuts in the affected areas.