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Worker Deaths Reveal Ugly Side of Suez Canal Expansion

August 10, 2015
A worker at the site of the New Suez Canal Project

Despite Egypt’s round the clock coverage of the New Suez Canal’s lavish opening ceremony, a few key facts regarding the labour conditions of the workers that made it happen were notably missing. WORKER DEATHS AND INJURIES According to the Health Ministry – and gaining just a snippet of coverage in state-owned newspaper Al Ahram – a total of 10 workers died and 145 were injured while working on the project. This was during a year-long period between August 2014 and August 2015, during which the expansion was built. The mega project –a 72 kilometre expansion of the existing canal – involved around 44,000 workers, military engineers, machinists, technicians and Suez Canal employees. A spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, stated in an interview with Mada Masr that of the 10 workers who died, five were of natural causes, such as pre-existing medical conditions and heart attacks, and the other five were due to industrial accidents. Equally concerning, 103 workers were reported to have collapsed due to sunstroke, and 41 for venomous scorpion stings. One worker was injured after being bitten by a dog. Workers were exposed to such…

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