Thursday, June 1, 2023

A belated Khamsin storm to remember in Egypt

Thursday afternoon Egypt was on a date with one of those Sandstorms that remind Egyptians that there is something called Khamsin storms Egypt is famous for in spring.

I was in the street, and I saw firsthand the results of removing trees. In a couple of hours, we had in Great Cairo extremely hot weather, rain, and sandstorm.

Giza's Khamsin sandstorm
What I saw firsthand Thursday afternoon, minutes earlier it was raining 

We saw great Cairo under the ‘Mexican filter’ afternoon as some like to call it online.

We paid the price of removing hundreds if not thousands of trees across the country for real today. It has been ages since we saw a similar storm.

I believe the officials especially in the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture know that but fear to say it in public.

We need a green belt around Greater Cairo today before tomorrow. We need to regrow trees again.

This is a typical and original Khamsin Egypt is famous for, but it is a very belated Khamsin. Khamsin storms usually do not happen on 1st June or June at all. Summer should start after 20 days officially.

Khamsin usually takes place in April in Egypt.

Its name in Arabic is derived from the number 50 as the Arabs saw that it used to begin usually after 50 days of the start of Spring in March.

The sandstorm in October city
The sandstorm in October city 

In Ancient Egypt, they noticed that it used to be in the period from March to May so to see it starting in June is a bit strange.

I do not know if there is a scientific reason behind this related to climate change.

The sandstorm in Suez
The sandstorm in Suez 

Aside from the belated Khamsin, Egyptians knew firsthand the deadly impact of the billboards. 

At least two people were killed due to the fall of billboards because of the storm in Cairo and Sharqia governorates.

The first victim was a motorcycle driver on October Bridge in Cairo who fell victim to an Orange Telecom billboard featuring actor Karim Abdel Aziz.

Orange Telecomm featuring Karim Abdel Aziz billboard after the fall on October Bridge
A deadly campaign !! Orange Telecomm featuring Karim Abdel Aziz
billboard after the fall on October Bridge 

At least three others were injured and transferred to hospital.

God knows I always get worried about those billboards. I hope that someone in the parliament would have the courage to discuss them.

October bridge by Khaled Desouki
A clearer view from AFP's veteran photographer Khaled Desouki 

The other victim was an engineer walking in the street leaving her work in the city of 10th Ramadan, Sharqia governorate.

This is besides many road accidents we know and do not know about them on Thursday

Red Sea Ports Authority suspended work in its ports.

The videos coming from Suez Canal were like from a post-apocalyptic film.

The videos coming from Suez speaks a lot already.

The videos coming from the Suez-Cairo highway and New Cairo highways are like the Mad Max film series.

FYI people go into the storm because they want to finish their errands and go to their work. As simple as that, as crazy as it seems.

Now there is another disturbing idea that was said loudly on Twitter, and I have been thinking about it all day.

How much of the dust the Cairenes inhaled on Thursday was from the remains of the dead whose graves are razed right now in the historic City of Dead for the sake of highways?

Citadel area by Khaled Desouki
The citadel area was under a veil of dust during the sandstorm
It is also among the areas "under development" 
by Khaled Desouki for AFP

Anyhow, if you are in Egypt and in areas impacted by the sandstorms then please do not go out this weekend and if you drive, drive slowly.

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