Three killed and 500 stung as storms in Egypt wash scorpions into homes

All wounded receiving hospital treatment, health ministry says

Sam Hancock
Saturday 13 November 2021 16:14
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Adverse weather conditions in Egypt force scorpions to seek shelter in people's homes
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Three people have died and a further 500 injured after suffering from scorpion stings in Aswan, southern Egypt, amid thunderstorms in the region, a health ministry official has said.

The sudden onslaught of bites came as the animals, along with snakes, were flushed out of their normal hiding places by heavy rainfall and forced to seek shelter, experts said.

All those wounded have been hospitalised and are receiving treatment, Ehab Hanafy, the undersecretary of Aswan’s health ministry, told Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram on Saturday.

As well as displacing deadly creatures, the city’s adverse weather conditions caused power cuts, and led to street lights and trees collapsing in streets.

Residents are also increasingly concerned about the possibility of floods, the paper reports.

Hospitals in Aswan are taking the necessary precautions, Mr Hanafy said, with anti-venom being made readily available – and doctors even being recalled from vacations.

Extra amounts of anti-venom have been provided to medical units in villages near mountains and the desert, he added.

On Friday, Aswan’s governor Ashraf Attia temporarily barred ships on the River Nile and Lake Nasser from travelling too close to the city. He also ordered the temporary closure of some roads due to reports of reduced vision caused by the storms.

Citizens were urged to stay at home and avoid driving or walking in area with “lots of tress”.

However, Mr Attia ordered the reopening of roads and resuming vessel traffic in the Nile early on Saturday.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) forecasts intermittent mild to moderate rainfall, possibly accompanied by thunder, to continue over parts of South Sinai and southern Egypt on Saturday.

This includes in Aswan, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Qena and Luxor.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Rizk, a professor at Agricultural Research Centre, in Giza, told Al Watan newspaper that heavy rain washes away scorpions and snakes, which later seek to hide so they head to people's houses – “particularly the high parts”.

Prof Rizk stressed residents in mountainous areas should seek accommodation elsewhere when showers occur.

He explained that, if stung, people should “tie a piece of cloth firmly near the bite to inhibit the venom from reaching the heart”.

“They should then seek the hospital [out] immediately to get the [anti-venom],” Prof Rizk told the paper.

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