Twelve people have been killed and 43 others injured after heavy rains and floods swept across Egypt’s southern and eastern governorates on Friday. Five areas were reportedly affected by flooding, with the Red Sea, Ismailia and Sohag hit the hardest.
The coastal town of Ras Ghareb in the Red Sea Governorate, where four individuals reportedly lost their lives and 19 others were injured, witnessed some of the heaviest flooding in the region. Photos reveal extensive flood damage and media reports mention that several vehicles were swept away, while a large number of residences were inundated with water.
Several outlets also reported that six individuals died and 24 others were injured when a bus was swept away by flooding along the highway to Sohag, citing the Ministry of Health.
However, the state-owned EgyNews portal wrote that eight people died and 34 others were injured in the incident. Those who sustained injuries were reportedly rushed to hospitals in the nearby towns of Sohag and Akhmim.
The Ministry of Health also reported that two individuals died in the town of Fayed in the governorate of Ismailia after being struck by lightning.
Property damages are still being assessed in the hardest hit areas.
Ahead of the bad weather conditions the authorities issued warnings and shut down several main roads and highways.
On Friday, the Arabic language hashtags #Floods and #RasGhareb emerged as trending topics on Egyptian social media, with many users criticizing the state’s response to the flooding and the perceived lack of preparedness.
One user tweeted photos of a road which collapsed due to the weather, critically captioned “this is the road to Ras Ghareb, which the army built with its funds.”
— البوب نور (@N00r_183) October 28, 2016
Another user also posted photos of the flooding and subsequent damages blaming the state for the deaths, injuries and the obstruction of transportation in affected governorates. The user commented that the state’s security apparatus is quicker to respond when opposition protesters take to the streets.
— ®رَيحَانةُ✨الثَورة® (@R22N2) October 28, 2016
In past years Egypt’s infrastructure has proven unable to cope with poor weather conditions. Heavy rains and flooding in Egypt’s northern governorates in November last year caused scores of deaths and injuries, particularly in Alexandria and Beheira. In the wake of the incident the Ministry of Interior blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for allegedly blocking water drainage networks in Alexandria, while President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi criticized Egypt’s media for their coverage of the disaster.