A man looks on near firefighting trucks at the scene after a fire broke out in a garment factory north of Cairo on Thursday. Reuters
At least 20 people were killed and 24 others wounded on Thursday in a clothing factory fire on the eastern outskirts of the Egyptian capital, medical and security sources said.
Twelve fire trucks were dispatched to extinguish the huge blaze as smoke billowed over the area, with the cause not immediately clear.
The state prosecutor has tasked a team with investigating the fire, the sources added.
Men stand at the scene after a fire broke out in a garment factory near Cairo. Reuters
Egypt has had a string of fires in recent years, as shoddy buildings have been constructed without safety standards amid a security vacuum following its 2011 revolution.
Last month, a fire in an unlicensed shoe warehouse in the capital's twin city Giza engulfed a 13-storey building overlooking a major highway. Residents were evacuated but no casualties were reported.
In 2020, a major fire broke out next to a busy Cairo highway as a leak from an oil pipeline set ablaze by passing cars left 17 people hurt.
"The fire was reported at 11:28am, and a team from the Emirates Martyrs Station was immediately dispatched to the scene to help control the blazes,” a Civil Defence source revealed.
Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Salem Bin Shaqwi, Acting Director of Umm Al Quwain Civil Defence Department, said the firefighting teams were able to extinguish the fire and bring it under control without any casualties being reported.
The Pakistani family of two women, aged 36 and 28, along with three children, all nine years old, were transferred to the nearest hospital to receive treatment after inhaling smoke from the fire.
"I express my respect for the heroic doctor who showed particular courage and spirit of sacrifice in trying to save the patients," Prime Minister Ludovic Orban told local media, in praise echoed by doctors' unions and local media.
Saudi Arabia last week halted flights from seven southern African countries, mirroring similar moves by other government, but travel links with North Africa have remained unaffected.
The decision, entitled "The World Together", was adopted by consensus at a special assembly of the 194 nations that are members of the UN health body, drawing applause at the end of a three-day meeting.
An overloaded boat carrying 42 passengers, mostly children aged eight to 15, capsized late on Tuesday in northwest Nigeria's Kano state, a rescue agency spokesman said.