Heat wave in southern Egypt kills 40

Heat wave in southern Egypt kills 40
Photo credit: Unsplash/Mariam Soliman

A deadly heatwave in Egypt’s Aswan province that reportedly killed 40 people last week prompted a member of Egypt’s parliament to demand a pause in planned blackouts in the country’s southern provinces, according to a report in the New Arab.  

“People died from the extreme heat... the government is required to take prompt action to save lives, or else be held accountable for other casualties," MP Abdel-Naby said, addressing the parliament speaker.

Egypt is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Its desert landscape and lack of water has led to warming that is twice the rate of the rest of the globe. Temperatures often soar to 50 degrees Celsius.

“One of the concerns we’re navigating is we start having a category of deaths that is death by heat,” Cairo meteorologist Amira Nasser told Bloomberg.

Since 2018, the government has leaned on imports of LNG to power growing demand for air conditioning.  It has also increased forced power outages from one to two hours a day to help prevent electrical overloads. 

Egypt’s heat waves have devastated wheat crops – a staple in Egyptian diets - forcing the country to increasingly rely on imports. 

The effects of climate change are only expected to worsen in a country struggling to turn its economy around. Experts say this makes policy decisions around the weather vitally important for Egypt. 

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