Sunday, 30 October 2016

Twenty six confirmed deaths in Egypt flooding.

Twenty six people have been confirmed dead and at least 72 more have been injured followng heavy rainfall which has caused flash flooding in parts of Egypt. Nine people are reported to have died in the South Sinia Province, while another eight have died in the Sohag Province, where the towns of Saqilata and Akhmim have been inundated by waters from the Nile, washing away cars and buses. On the Red Sea Coast seven people have been reported dead in the town of Ras Gharib. Five people have been confirmed dead in Asyut, where a number if factory buildings have collapsed.

 Flooding in Ras Gharib on Thursday 26 October 2016. Ahram.

Egypt has an arid climate, with many areas receiving am average of less than 25 mm rain per year. However like other desert areas occasional outbreaks of heavy rain do occur, and when this happens flash flooding is a serious problem, as protracted periods of dry weather can cause topsoil to dry out completely, making it vulnerable to being blown away by the wind. When rain does arrive it then falls on exposed bedrock, which is much less absorbent, triggering flash flooding as the water escapes over the surface of the ground rather than sinking into it. These floods wash away more topsoil, making the problem progressively worse over time.

This situation is made worse by the country's week infrastructure, which lowers its capacity to put preventative measures in place and aleviate problems once they occur. The majority of fatalities caused by flooding in Egtpt are in road traffic accidents and as a result of electrecution from downed power lines, rather than more direct causes such as drowning.

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