December 13, 2010 / 11:53 AM / 9 years ago

Accidents linked to bad weather kill 18 in Egypt

CAIRO (Reuters) - Building collapses and road accidents blamed on a mixture of sandstorms, heavy rain and high winds have killed at least 18 people and injured dozens more across Egypt, state media reported on Monday.

One factory building collapsed in the northern port city of Alexandria killing at least seven people and injuring 10, the state news agency MENA reported. It said the toll could rise as others were believed to be under the rubble.

State-owned Al-Ahram newspaper blamed rain damage to the factory structure for the collapse. It said other buildings also collapsed or were damaged by storms, leading to other deaths.

The newspaper, which put the total death toll at 18, also listed fatalities in road accidents related to the weather, including one incident where a street light fell into a road.

Sandstorms, rain and wind have battered swathes of the country in past days, with northern areas among the worst hit. At least 10 ports on the Red Sea and Mediterranean were shut due to the storms.

Port authorities decided on Monday to reopen eight ports on the Red Sea after relative improvement in weather conditions, Salah Hesham of the Red Sea Port Authority said.

But the two ports on the Mediterranean were still closed on Monday, officials cited by MENA said.

Building collapses are fairly frequent in Egypt, often blamed on poor construction and a failure to impose building rules. Traffic accidents are also frequent, with rain and poor visibility making Egypt’s many potholed streets more dangerous.

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