News coverage of Aswan’s storm (12-11-21 / 13-11-21)

This paper reviews several Egyptian News’ articles published following the Aswan meteorological incidents that happened between Friday 12th of October and Saturday 13th of October 2021. Aswan’s inhabitants experienced heavy rains, lightning, thunder, resulting in massive street flooding. Scorpions and snakes got swept away from their natural habitats due to rainfall. As a result, around five hundred citizens got bitten by scorpions and snakes. The newspapers selected are the following : Masrawy, Ahram, Shourouknews, Cairo24, Egyptian independent, Youm7, and Madamasr.

Articles mainly stress the health emergency. According to the latest articles, five hundred and three persons got stung by scorpions, and three died. An article published in Masrawy reported the Ministry of Health’s strategy to diminish the injuries and deaths resulting from scorpion and snakes tings. Dr. Ihad Hanafi, secretary of the minister of Health, said that the maximum readiness of provincial hospitals had been raised. Ahram reported that the undersecretary of the health ministry Ehab Hanfy’s information, interviewed by Ahram on Saturday, said that the injured citizens were hospitalized. In a comprehensive article, Cairo24 wrote about the health protocol announced by the Ministry of Health in reaction to the incidents. In sum, health issues are covered by the majority of articles.

Material damages and prevention are highlighted as important issues. A wide range of articles highlights the destruction of homes, trees, water and electricity cuts caused by the storm. Egypt independent mainly stressed destructions, electricity, and water cuts in the article published about Aswan’s flooding. Nevertheless, it mentions the transfer of five hundred and three citizens to hospitals due to scorpions stung. Shorouknews’s article on Aswan’s storm reported the Information Centre of the General Meteorological authority’s indications about upcoming meteorological events. Furthermore, Ahram reported the Governor of Aswan Ashraf Attia’s preventive measures that call the citizens to stay at home and avoid movements. Similarly, Cairo24 highlights Ashraf Attia’s security measures regarding traffic during the storm. In sum, newspaper’s articles described the damages caused and the measures that have been implemented.

Four out of the eight articles selected mention climate change. In an interview given to Masrawy, Dr. Mahmoud Shaleen, Director of the General Meteorological Commissions’ Analysis and Prediction Centre, said that the incidents in the provinces of Southern Egypt were caused by climate change – ‘’تغيرات المناخ’’. Similarly, Madamasr reported Dr.Mahmoud Shaheen’s words about what the newspaper translated as ‘’changes in the climate’’ being the main reasons for the wave of extreme weather in the governorates of Southern Egypt. The newspaper Youm7 reports that Dr.Mohamed Faheem, head of the Climate Change Information Center in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the scorpions’ emergence in Aswan was due to heavy rainfall, which caused torrent displacing the scorpions to houses. The article does not exhibit links between the storm and climate change. However, Cairo24 published an article questioning the causes of the meteorological incidents: they wrote ‘’التغيرات المناخية تضرب أسوان” (climate change hits Aswan) as one of the subtitles. In this article, the rainfall is said to result from climate change that affected the ”rain belt” (a zone in which it usually rains). In sum, three articles mentioning climate change do not investigate the issue, and only one states its link with the storm.

In conclusion, the newspapers selected highlighted different issues resulting from last weekend’s violent storm in Aswan. While most articles reported the health emergency, damages caused by the storm, and prevention and measures for the meteorological incident, some also mentioned climate change. However, only one of the articles states that climate change was the cause of the storm.

Anouck Guillou


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