An unseasonable rainstorm in the Egyptian city of Alexandria dumped nearly 10 inches of rain in two days last week, killing six people and turning the Mediterranean port city’s streets into rushing rivers. As the rains continued over the weekend, they also claimed a political victim: the region’s newly elected governor.
Hany el-Missiry’s resignation, which comes less than a year after he took charge of Egypt’s second-largest city, was announced Sunday by a government spokesman amid widespread criticism over the city’s response to the deluge.
“We are drowning in negligence,” read the front-page headline of Al-Youm Al-Sabaa daily newspaper. “The government drowns in Alexandria,” read the banner headline at Al-Shorouk, another daily.
Alexandria’s frail infrastructure, particularly its drainage systems, likely aggravated the flooding and resulted in the deaths of five people who were electrocuted by a fallen power cable, according to local media. The two-day, 10-inch total was five times the amount of rain the city normally experiences in all of October.
Aside from ageing infrastructure, others pointed to climate change as a major culprit. Missiry called the flooding an “environmental catastrophe” shortly before resigning on Sunday.
Such flooding could become the norm in Alexandria, the World Bank has warned. It put Alexandria among the five cities across the world most at risk of flooding by 2050 as a result of climate change. The other cities the World Bank lists include Barranquilla, Colombia; Naples, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Low-lying Alexandria is also vulnerable to increased salinization, or saltwater intrusions on agricultural lands and freshwater resources, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…..continue reading HERE
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