Heavy rains threaten public infrastructure
YOUM7/Ahmed Ramadan
By AMANY ABD EL RAOUF

CAIRO: Public infrastructure in Egypt is falling apart, and in conjunction with changes in the weather, the likelihood of deadly accidents is rising.

Parts of Moqattam crumbled away on Sunday due to heavy rains and hail, and the suspended ceiling of Hurghada International Airport partially collapsed.

Former head of the parliament’s transport committee, Hamdy al-Tahan said Monday that public infrastructure simply cannot bear the changes in weather.

Tahan told The Cairo Post that much of public infrastructure is flawed in its construction, design, and use. Coupled with poor or negligent maintenance, state facilities and infrastructure are already crumbling by the time a heavy rain hits.

Tahan added that a concerned ministry might not follow-up on the level of design or implementation and does not commit to the technical baseline of the project. He said it is not difficult to determine who is responsible for a mistake, and there are even clear mechanisms for accountability, but the problem is no one is willing to hold someone accountable.

Roads, bridges, and tunnels are particularly at risk because of poor maintenance and high use, said Tahan.

 

With a heavy rain, water accumulates in the streets, said spokesperson of the Holding Company for Water and Waste Water Mohy Al Serafy  on Monday. He said the company issued instructions to send Upper Egypt governorates vehicles to drain the rainwater. Serafy told Youm7 that the National Authority for Sewage is responsible for following-up and protecting unfinished sewage projects.

 

Cairo tunnels in particular are struggling to stay open. The Al-Azhar Tunnel was shut down three times in the last six months due to electric malfunctions.

Cairo Governor Galal Saeed visited the Al-Azhar Tunnel Monday to examine its operations and structural soundness. Saeed inspected the central control room, which works automatically and raises alerts if there any problems or technical failures inside the tunnel. During the visit, he asked to raise the efficiency of the control system and provide spare parts.

Last week, two tunnels collapsed in Shubra. The ceiling of Mahmasha Tunnel fell in on March 4 while a car was passing through, and the Ahmed Badawy Tunnel in Shubra crushed three cars and injured one taxi driver when it crumbled on March 5.

Early in February, the Sheikh Mansour Bridge in Ezbet el-Nakhl collapsed due to a fire that erupted in the informal housing underneath, according to government statements. The collapse set off weeks of protests when the state forcibly evacuated the neighborhood.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Hassan, Mahmoud Makboul, and Ahmed Abdel Rady.

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