Heavy rains and stormy weather swept across Egypt over the weekend. The brutal weather conditions left 3 dead due to storm related accidents and suspended several activities across the southern province in the country. However, this was not all that the deluge brought forth. Hundreds of scorpions were forced to emerge from their hiding places due to the heavy downpour. More than 500 people were hospitalized as a result of scorpion stings. Local schools were also closed due to the intense rainfall activity in the region.
The severe storms and subsequent flooding in Aswan forced the scorpions to leave their hiding places under rocks, in crevices and in the sand. They entered many homes across the province and stung their residents. Governor Ashraf Attia said that at least 503 people suffered from the stings and had to be hospitalized. However, all of them recovered after getting anti-venom doses and were discharged from the hospitals.
Acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghafar also released a statement that said that no deaths were reported as a result of scorpion stings.
The storm was severe and social media was replete with images of damaged houses, flooded streets and damaged vehicles. Agricultural land was also submerged and crops faced destruction. There were also power outages as a result of the heavy rain.
The rain on Friday and Saturday was intense with thunderstorms, lightning as well as hail in a few parts of the desert city.
Ehab Hanafy, undersecretary of the Health Ministry of Aswan noted that scorpion stings are a common occurrence in the region and hospitals treat up to 100 people who get stung per day. However, the numbers greatly increased after the storm.
According to the St. Louis Zoo, the fat-tailed scorpio is native to Egypt and other arid and semi-arid regions in Africa, in the Middle East as well in parts of Asia. It is “one of the most deadly” arachnids in the world and has caused several deaths due to a sting from its tail.
Climate change is affecting the region, much like it is affecting the entire world. The region is expected to become hotter by at least 0. 68 degrees through the decade. However, major changes in rainfall are not expected. An earlier climate report had also suggested that the Middle East would remain dry. However, rainfall would be more intense and come in shorter spans of time, affecting both livelihoods as well as agriculture.