Cairo schools close after rainfall causes chaos - GulfToday

Cairo schools close after rainfall causes chaos


Motorists drive on a flooded street following rainfall in Cairo on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Egypt has closed schools and universities in Cairo and companies saw only skeletal staff show up at work after heavy rains pummeled parts of the country’s capital the previous day, causing massive traffic jams and flooding many key roads.

The mayhem raised questions about Cairo’s ability to deal with heavy rainfall. Wednesday’s school closures were limited to the greater Cairo area, including Giza and Qalioubia.

The eastern suburb of Nasr City was hit the hardest, as well as Heliopolis, located near Cairo’s international airport.

People captured Tuesday’s downpours and flooding on their mobile phones, posting footage on social media, including scenes of cars submerged by flood waters.

EgyptAir said it had delayed some fights on Tuesday because passengers were stuck on the roads and unable to get to the airport.

Meanwhile, Egypt said on Tuesday it had accepted a US invitation to a meeting of foreign ministers over a project for a giant hydropower dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile that is causing an escalating spat between the two African countries.

The meeting of foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, the three nations directly affected by the project, will be held in Washington, Egypt’s foreign ministry said, without stating a date or if the others nations had agreed.

“Egypt has received an invitation from the US administration,” the ministry said in a statement, adding, “an invitation that Egypt immediately accepted.”

Egypt is worried that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under construction near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, will restrict supplies of already scarce Nile waters on which it is almost entirely dependent.

After years of three-way talks with Ethiopia and Sudan, it says it has exhausted efforts to reach a pact on conditions for operating the dam and filling the reservoir behind.

Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its economic development and has denied that the talks between the three are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.

Ethiopia will not be stopped from building the dam, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Tuesday.

Abiy, who won the Nobel prize this month for his peacemaking efforts with longtime enemy Eritrea, also raised the prospect of conflict over the dam, saying, “If we are going to war...we can deploy many millions. But war is not a solution.”


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