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Unforgiving Heatwave in Egypt’s Aswan Results in 40 Deaths

June 11, 2024
Image Credit: Maël Balland/Pexels

Egypt’s southern city of Aswan recorded 40 deaths in the past week caused by a severe heatwave, raising parliamentarian concerns over shelter and electricity capabilities.

Egyptian member of parliament Reham Abdelnabi raised the issue to her fellow MPs after the city recorded a scorching 49.6 degrees Celsius – one of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the area.

Abdelnabi urged the government to exempt Aswan from its ongoing power blackouts, a nationwide initiative to cut electricity for two to three hours across all governorates as a means to alleviate costs.

The parliamentarian called on the government to take immediate action to mitigate the impact of the heatwave on the region’s residents and prevent further loss of life.

She also noted that the intense heat has exacerbated the prevalence of harmful animals in homes, with power outages leading to increased incidents of scorpion stings and snake appearances.

“The government must act swiftly to save lives or face the responsibility for more casualties,” Abdelnabi said.

Egypt’s most-watched talk show host, Amr Adib, also dedicated a segment on the situation, delivering a personal plea to the government.

“We [citizens] will not be upset if you exclude Aswan from power cuts,” Adib stated.

The Aswan Governorate’s official Facebook page commented on the situation, assuring citizens that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Electricity to address the matter.

The governorate also highlighted that several medical and emergency centers will be stationed to prepare for potential heat strokes.

Adib previously questioned the government’s recent decision to extend electricity cuts to 3 hours in certain areas.

“My question here is to the Egyptian people: Are you satisfied with the performance of the current Cabinet?” Adib said, questioning the efforts of the ministers.

The government’s decision comes during a time when several governorates across the country are experiencing scorching temperatures – with the country’s capital experiencing nearly 40 degrees Celsius every day the past week.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi explained during a presidential conference on 25 May that the continuation of power cuts is to ensure that electricity costs remain unchanged despite macroeconomic challenges.

Egypt depends on gas imports to provide access to electricity nationwide, causing a significant decrease in foreign reserves.

In January 2024, the government announced a 7 to 20 percent increase in electricity prices. The Cabinet is set to convene by the end of the year to decide on a second hike.

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