Thunderstorms bring widespread flooding to Egypt, killing 5

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A man rides a bicycle during a thunderstorm and heavy rains in Cairo, as the government announced a day off while the rain exceeds the infrastructure's capacity in most cities, Egypt March 12, 2020. (Reuters)
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A man walks through rain in a heavily flooded street in the New Cairo suburb of the Egyptian capital on March 12, 2020 amidst a heavy rain storm. (AFP)
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A man with cartoon cover rides a motorbike during a thunderstorm and heavy rains in Cairo, as the government announced a day off while the rain exceeds the infrastructure's capacity in most cities, Egypt March 12, 2020. (Reuters)
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People use a bulldozer to pull out an inundated car from a flooded street in in the New Cairo suburb of the Egyptian capital on March 12, 2020 amidst a heavy rain storm. (AFP)
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Updated 12 March 2020

Thunderstorms bring widespread flooding to Egypt, killing 5

  • Forecasters warned of heavy rains and flooding across much of the country
  • Chaos always accompanies bad weather in Egypt, raising questions about the country’s poor infrastructure and dilapidated sewage and drainage systems

CAIRO: Thunderstorms packing heavy rains and lightning caused widespread flooding across Egypt on Thursday, killing at least five people and injuring five others, officials said, as authorities shuttered schools, government offices and an airport.
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 storm winds blew his car into a canal.
Photos and video footage from around the country of flooded roads, damaged bus shelters and broken windows circulated on social media.
In western New Valley province, a technician was electrocuted while trying to fix a lighting column that went off due to the rain, local officials said.
In southern Sohag province, a 35-year-old bystander died under the rubble of a wall that had been knocked down by wind.
A 60-year-old man was electrocuted as he walked down the street in his village in the Delta province of Menoufeya.
Authorities had 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 shut down.
The country’s railway authorities suspended train service nationwide citing the bad weather. The announcement came shortly after two Cairo-bound trains collided near their final destination injuring 13, according to health officials. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the accident was weather-related.
Officials earlier in the week announced that schools would be closed and suspended work in businesses and government offices after forecasters warned of heavy rains and flooding across much of the country through Saturday.
The prime minister’s office on Wednesday advised Egyptians to stay home, prompting hundreds of people to line up outside grocery stores to stock up on supplies for the weekend.
Chaos always accompanies bad weather in Egypt, raising questions about the country’s poor infrastructure and dilapidated sewage and drainage systems. In October, heavy rains that slammed the capital Cairo and other parts of the country flooded key roads, causing massive traffic jams and leaving at least eight people dead, including four children.


Palestinian cyclists say attacked by Israeli settlers after trail app led them astray

Updated 22 July 2020

Palestinian cyclists say attacked by Israeli settlers after trail app led them astray

  • Komoot led them east toward a rocky path near the Israeli settlement of Shilo

RAMALLAH: A group of Palestinian cyclists say they were attacked by Israelis in the occupied West Bank after a popular trail app landed them on a remote path dotted with Jewish settlements.
Avid cyclist Amer Kurdi set out on Saturday with his brother and three others on what was supposed to be an 80-km (50-mile) ride, using the cycling, hiking, and mountain biking app Komoot to chart a path north from the Palestinian village of Birzeit.
The West Bank, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, is scattered with Israeli settlements which its 3 million Palestinians mostly cannot enter, as well as checkpoints and military bases that Israel says it needs for its security.
Over an hour into their ride, Kurdi said Komoot led them east toward a rocky path near the Israeli settlement of Shilo. He said a group of Hebrew-speaking men, whom the cyclists later took to be Israeli settlers, approached and asked where they were from.
Kurdi, 30, replied that they were from the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Soon after, the men — Kurdi estimates there were five or six — started throwing stones at them, using T-shirts to hide their faces, Kurdi and his brother, Samer, said.
“The others managed to run away, but I tripped and fell,” Samer, 28, said. “When I got up, a settler was behind me, and he started beating me with a metal rod.”
Photos the cyclists took after the incident, which they reported to Israel’s police, show Samer’s legs and arms bruised and bloodied.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said they are investigating.
Palestinians complain that navigation apps fail to grasp the West Bank’s complexity.
Asked for comment, Komoot said it regretted the incident but that its service is not specifically optimized for route planning “through areas of political unrest.”
Amer Kurdi says the incident will not keep him from cycling.
“I’ll wear a camera. I’ll be more careful when using apps,” he said.
“But we won’t stop. We will stand up for our right to bike.”