Egypt to make use of ‘Dragon Storm’ water 

Egypt to make use of ‘Dragon Storm’ water 
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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Updated 17 March 2020

Egypt to make use of ‘Dragon Storm’ water 

Egypt to make use of ‘Dragon Storm’ water 
  • The minister and his aides conducted a field tour to check on the progress of work in sewage stations and the pumping out of rainwater from various roads and districts

CAIRO: Egypt’s parliament has drawn up plans to make use of the water that fell during recent torrential thunderstorms in anticipation of a potential water crisis with Ethiopia over its Renaissance Dam.
According to Mamdouh Raslan, head of the Holding Company for Drinking Water and Sanitation in Egypt, it was estimated that the amount of water that fell on the coastal city of Alexandria during last weekend’s storm, dubbed the “Dragon,” reached 5 million square meters.
Widespread flooding caused by heavy rain across large swathes of Egypt on Thursday and Friday killed at least 20 people. The Cabinet said the country had not seen such rain in 40 years.
MP Abdel-Hadi Al-Qasabi said that climate change confirmed the necessity of maximizing the utilization of rainwater and floods, especially, he added, since many countries have developed similar methods for use in the agricultural sector.
Al-Qasabi stressed that doing so would benefit the public and called on the government to present a plan on storing water and educating people in this regard.
MP Khaled Fahmy said he would renew his proposal to take advantage of rainwater by erecting curbs on sidewalks where rainwater could be collected and poured into wells. He said that treating rainwater would not cost the state “all that much.”
Another MP suggested that a map of water pools be drawn up for all governorates in view of the water scarcity, adding that the government needed to expand agricultural areas.
Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar corroborated the necessity of implementing permanent solutions to make use of the unprecedented amounts of rain witnessed by the country last week.
El-Gazzar said that he, along with other ministry officials, were monitoring efforts to extract rainwater and to deal with the poor weather conditions that have recently afflicted Egypt.
The minister and his aides conducted a field tour to check on the progress of work in sewage stations and the pumping out of rainwater from various roads and districts.
Adel Hassan, head of the Cairo Wastewater Company, said that Egypt had been preparing for bad weather and that proper equipment had been employed, including 120 vehicles that have collected rainwater from the streets of Cairo.
Hassan added that government vehicles have transported water to citizens affected by water shortage in parts of Cairo.
He said that a plan was being studied to see whether the state would need to develop its infrastructure in a manner more suited to the management of inclement weather.
Saving rainwater could become crucial should the Egypt-Ethiopia dispute over Addis Ababa’s Renaissance Dam become exacerbated, which Cairo fears would significantly diminish its water supply from the River Nile.
The dam is now more than 70 percent complete, and Ethiopia plans to start filling its reservoir in July.


Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Updated 17 min 30 sec ago

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew
  • Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries
  • Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY: New measures to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip were announced on Thursday by the interior ministry of Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave.
Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries, the interior ministry said in a statement.
A night-time curfew was also set to start from Saturday, lasting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 am, while a full lockdown will be imposed on Fridays and Saturdays from December 11 through to the end of the month.
Shops and other premises must close by 6:00 p.m. and people must be home by 6:30 pm, compared to 8:00 p.m. under the previous curfew rules.
Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip, saying the situation was “out of control.”
The enclave, a small, densely populated territory with two million inhabitants under an Israeli blockade, closed its borders early in the pandemic and only allowed a limited number of people to enter, requiring them to isolate for three weeks in quarantine centers.
Up until mid-August, authorities in Gaza had only recorded around 100 Covid-19 cases.
But in the past two weeks, containment of the virus has deteriorated in Gaza, with hundreds of new infections announced per day, resulting in a total of 23,023 cases and 122 deaths.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is among those who have recently been infected by the virus, the movement said Tuesday.