Wild stormy weather and heavy rainfall brought Egypt to a standstill on Thursday and caused major flooding, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than ten others, according to local media.
One child was killed and 5 others were injured following the collapse of two houses in Qena, while other houses collapsed in Menoufia, Sohag and another house collapsed on a car in Assiut.
A video clip began circulating on social media of a woman crying for help from the flooding in Heliopolis, where she found a drowned body.
Electrical transistors exploded and many homes were left with no electricity, and one 60-year-old man was electrocuted as he walked down the street in Menoufia.
Dr. Mahmoud Shaheen, director of weather forecasting at the Meteorological Authority, warned in a press conference on Wednesday of the bad weather conditions, calling for citizens to stay indoors and that this is the worst weather condition to hit Egypt since 1994.
A state of emergency and a paid holiday was declared before Thursday for all workers in the private and public sector as well as students to avoid traffic in the streets.
The government urged people to stay indoors and not to park near trees, as the rain could amount to 60-70 millimeters and exceed the infrastructure’s capacity in most cities.
A group of youth drove 70 cars in the street for free rescue trips, who reportedly helped more than 100 people stranded in the streets.
Ministry of Solidarity took several measures, namely providing emergency intervention teams and homeless children with blankets, aid and appropriate meals to cope with the bad weather, and placing the intervention team at disposal throughout the day to report cases from the ministry’s hotline (16439) and (16528).
Heavy Rainfalls in Egypt
Egypt has been witnessing heavy rains and flooding more frequently recently due to effects of climate change, according to Egyptian Meteorological Authority chairman Ahmed Abdelaal.
Eleven governorates in Egypt are vulnerable to flood risks, including Aswan, Luxor, Qena, Asyut, Sohag, Beni Suef, New Valley, and South and North Sinai, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Irrigation.
In late October in 2019, Cairo rain caused chaotic traffic in the streets, and led many to express frustration from poor infrastructure conditions and ineffective drainage systems.
In 2018, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of “runaway climate change” to happen in two years, in which the accumulative effects of climate change would create an irreversible loop of extreme heat, wildfires, storms and floods.