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Second Sandstorm Engulfs Egypt; At Least 4 More Die Poor Visibility Blamed For Collisions

Sun., May 4, 1997

A second sandstorm engulfed Egypt on Saturday, blinding drivers, grounding planes and killing at least four people in the south.

The storm followed one that blew across the country Friday, reducing visibility to zero, felling trees and billboards, and briefly shutting Cairo’s international airport.

At least 18 people were killed in the storm, described as the worst in 30 years.

Saturday’s winds also reached 60 mph, blowing sand through Sohag, 240 miles south of Cairo.

Four people died on the highways, including a police officer whose car overturned.

Fourteen people were injured in Sohag by falling trees, electricity pylons and other heavy objects, police said.

The winds forced flights to divert from the airport in Luxor, one of Egypt’s top tourist destinations, about 75 miles south of Sohag. Fifteen flights out of Luxor also were canceled, stranding more than 1,500 tourists.

Low visibility in southern Aswan, the Red Sea resort of Hurghada and the Sinai Peninsula resort of Sharm el-Sheik delayed flights there.

In Cairo, people swept debris off streets coated with a layer of sand from Friday’s storm, which turned the blue sky gray, then glowing red followed by an eerie white.

Fires, some caused by falling electricity pylons, broke out in 58 homes, factories and schools. Poor visibility was blamed for 23 traffic collisions.

Tags: Death

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