Egypt’s ‘beach of death’ claims its latest victim

A photo taken on September 9, 2017 shows a river boat sailing in the Nile past the Temple of Luxor in the eponymous southern Egyptian city. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2018
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Egypt’s ‘beach of death’ claims its latest victim

  • About 1.5 million people visit the waterfront during the holiday seasons
  • The beach has 23 lifeguards, two supervisors and three jet-ski operators to cover a 1,850-meter stretch of beach

CAIRO: No one knows the reason for the high number of drowning cases in Palm Beach, Alexandria — a popular city waterfront that some have called the “beach of death.”
More than 20 people have drowned at the beach in recent months, with two deaths in the past week.
The latest victim, 27-year-old Ibrahim Saad Ahmed, was a worker from Egypt’s Dakahlia province.
Ahmed’s father said that his son was swept away by the strong current and drowned.
A student drowned at the same beach late last week, but his body has not been recovered.
Palm Beach, which was built by Egypt’s armed forces as a resort for its officers, “is one of Alexandria’s most beautiful beaches, but it is the most dangerous,” according to Salma Al-Jundi, a doctor who owns an apartment there.
Ahmed Essam, an engineering student and a member of the association that runs the beach, has called for an increase in the number of lifeguards as well as warning signs on suitable hours for swimming.
Some vacationers swim at times when swimming is prohibited, such as dawn and after sunset.
Essam believes that the large number of drowning cases can be explained by the fact that many beachgoers are not Alexandrians, and are less experienced swimmers.
Meanwhile, officials at the beach deny there is a problem. Brig. Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, a member of the board of directors of the October 6 Association, which runs Palm Beach, said that about 1.5 million people visit the waterfront during the holiday seasons.
The association is committed “to providing all means of safety,” he said.
The Palm Beach administration posted news of the recent drowning cases on its Facebook page, and urged people to swim only during allotted times.
The Alexandria governorate also issued a warning, with the governor, Sultan Sultan, saying he would consider closing the beach after the rise in the number of drownings.
The beach has 23 lifeguards, two supervisors and three jet-ski operators to cover a 1,850-meter stretch of beach. They work from 8 a.m. to sunset.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.