5 Egypt officials interrogated over flood havoc

Last week, New Cairo suburb bore the brunt of rare flash floods that triggered public fury

Cairo: Egypt’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday ordered five government officials be interrogated over last’s week massive damage wrought by rare flash floods that hit a recently built Cairo suburb.

The five include the deputy head of the New Communities Authority; the head of the New Cairo quarter hard hit by the rainfall; the chairman of the Greater Cairo Sanitary Drainage Company; as well as heads of legal departments in the state-owned firm and the New Communities Authority, an official statement said.

The chief prosecutor also ordered the formation of a technical committee to examine the flood-hit areas and check the money already spent on the revamp of their sanitation networks.

The decisions come ahead of legal measures to be taken against anyone found responsible for the incident, the statement added.

The April 24 rainfall resulted in massive cuts in power and water supplies in New Cairo, a swanky suburb east of the Egyptian capital.

Videos went viral online, purportedly showing vehicles submerged in flood-hit streets in New Cairo, mainly its Fifth Settlement quarter, trapping dozens inside cars for hours.

The heavy damage brought the government under online and media criticism, amid accusations the upscale area lacks an efficient drainage system.

In the aftermath, President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi pledged state agencies would intensify efforts to prevent the recurrence of the problem.

Egypt’s powerful anti-corruption agency, the Administrative Control Authorities, has suspended some officials in the New Cairo Municipality pending investigations into the case.

New Cairo was built on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital in early 2000, luring wealthy people, seeking refuge from noise and pollution of age-old Cairo.

An estimated 500,00 people reside in New Cairo, which is believed to be frequented by up to 1 million others a day as workers and students at several private universities there.

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