Egypt to tackle overpopulation with ‘2 children only’ plan

Cairo is one of the most dense cities in the world. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Egypt to tackle overpopulation with ‘2 children only’ plan

CAIRO: Egypt’s government announced this week the implementation of a plan to control the nation’s booming population rate under a campaign called “Egypt development: Two children only.”
Health Minister Ahmed Emad Eddin met this week with Egypt’s governors to announce the plan to control population growth in each province, while studying the demographic situation of each governorate and possible mechanisms for birth control.
Fighting illiteracy, unemployment and poverty were discussed as ways to tackle the population boom.
The plan as yet does not mention applying a strict child-control policy that would stop families from having more than two children, as the name of the campaign suggests.
“Contraception is the last thing we can rely on in the population strategy,” El-Masry El-Youm newspaper quoted Emad Eddin as saying.
“In the beginning, it is necessary to eliminate the dropout in education to prevent early marriage and employ females.”
He stressed the significant role religious institutions in Egypt could play by spreading awareness of the population crisis. “Either the population increase continues to destroy Egypt or the crisis is solved,” he said.
Local Development Minister Hisham El-Sherif said population control is tied to solving Egypt’s high illiteracy rates, unemployment levels and poverty.
Egypt’s population is increasing by 2.04 million people annually, he said, adding that the country would need 20,000 nurseries in the coming three years, and half a million homes in 22 years, if population growth levels remain the same.
Consecutive governments have announced initiatives to control the population boom. The campaign’s name has raised eyebrows about whether Egypt is on the verge of applying a strict two-child policy. Such a policy has been raised by lawmakers several times.
Population expert Ayman Zohry said this campaign, like previous ones, calls for limiting the number of children per family.
“The government is appealing to Egyptians to abide by family planning, but there are no clear restrictions to be implemented on having more than two children,” he told Arab News.
Attempts to force parents not to have more children are unlikely to work in Egypt, and “negative incentives” would not succeed, Zohry said.
“The government adopts a method of preaching national responsibility by telling parents that they should abide by family planning. But education remains key to containing a population boom,” he added.
“It’s with education that families will understand… the responsibilities associated with raising a child, sending them to school and fulfilling their needs.”
Education will also help families, especially those in rural areas, understand that family planning is not forbidden by religion, Zohry added.


Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

Updated 19 July 2018
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Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

GAZA: An Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip killed a member of the militant Hamas group on Thursday and wounded three others, Hamas sources and medical officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed it had carried out an air strike targeting Hamas militants who were about to launch balloons rigged with flammable material over the border into Israel.
Hamas sources said the casualties were security men working at an observation post near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Fires caused by incendiary helium balloons and kites launched by Palestinians in Gaza have ravaged tracts of farmland in Israel in recent months. Israel has vowed to stop the attacks, even at the risk of wider conflict.
Weekly clashes at the Israel-Gaza border have kept tensions at a high for months. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during protests at the frontier held every week since March.
Israel says Hamas has been orchestrating the demonstrations, dubbed The Great March of Return, to provide cover for militants' cross-border attacks. Hamas denies this.
Cross-border violence surged on Saturday when Palestinian militants fired more than 100 rockets into Israel and the Israeli military carried out dozens of air strikes in the Hamas-ruled enclave.