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Worst Weather in Decades Kills 20 in Egypt

Worst Weather in Decades Kills 20 in Egypt

Friday, 13 March, 2020 - 06:15
A man wears makeshift rain gear as he navigates a flooded road after heavy rains in the Zamalek district of Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Heavy rains and flooding have killed around 20 people in Egypt, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said Friday, in what he described as some of the worst weather in several decades.

In a statement posted on a government Facebook page, Madbouli said the bad weather had killed "around 20 people nationwide".

He urged local officials to declare Saturday a day off for schools and universities in order to allow the authorities to respond to the situation.

Photos and video footage circulated on social media showed flooded roads, damaged bus shelters and broken windows around the country.

"Egypt has not witnessed such weather conditions in some 35 or 40 years," Madbouli said.

Five people died in Zaraib, south of Cairo, when their homes were swept away, a security official said earlier Friday, adding that rescue workers were looking for more victims.

In Cairo, two people were electrocuted and killed, the Akhbar el-Yom daily reported on its website.

In southern Sohag province, a 35-year-old bystander died under the rubble of a wall that was knocked down by wind.

A child died and five people were injured when floods demolished their houses in a rural area in the southern province of Qena, where lightning ignited several fires. Also in Qena, a motorist was killed when winds blew his car into a canal.

Authorities shut down Luxor International Airport, a key hub for tourists, and three seaports — the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and the Red Sea ports of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

Nile River cruises between the southern cities of Luxor and Aswan, which harbor most of ancient Egypt's monuments, were suspended and several key highways were closed.

The country's railway authorities suspended train service nationwide, citing the bad weather.

The bad weather, forecast to continue until Saturday, was also blamed for a train crash in the capital on Thursday in which 13 people were injured.

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