19 die, 107 injured in Egyptian train crash

AFP-JIJI

A train carrying military conscripts derailed southwest of Cairo on Tuesday, killing 19 people and wounding 107, the Health Ministry said, highlighting the country’s chronic transport problems.

The train was taking young recruits from south Egypt to a military camp in Cairo when two cars went off the rails shortly after midnight in the Giza neighborhood of Badrasheen, officials said.

More than 60 ambulances were sent to the site of the accident, where rescuers extracted survivors and bodies from the twisted heap of metal on the side of the rails.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandeel was met with howls of outrage when he arrived at the scene, with local residents shouting, “You have blood on your hands, Mr. Hesham.” His security quickly whisked him away, a witness said.

The injured have been taken to local hospitals for treatment, the Health Ministry said.

President Mohammed Morsi made a visit to the injured at the Maadi military hospital in Cairo, the same facility where his ousted predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, is being treated, state media reported.

Minister of Social Affairs Nagwa Khalil said the government will pay the families of those killed each 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,520), and families of the injured 2,000 Egyptian pounds, MENA said.

The accident is the latest in a string of transport disasters plaguing Egypt, and comes just two weeks after a new transport minister was appointed.

According to media reports, it is the fifth deadly train accident since Morsi was sworn in as Egypt’s first Islamist president in June.

Morsi’s tenure so far has been marked by political divisions over the role of religion in politics and freedoms, but the latest accident is a further test of how his government will deal with the everyday problems of Egyptians.