Egypt sees sand­storm and earth­quake on the same day; Gaza hit too

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MERRIT KENNEDY

Egypt f aced t reach­er­ous weather con­di­tions Satur­day as a sand­storm blan­keted the north of the coun­try and a mag­ni­tude-5.2 earth­quake cen­tered in the Si­nai Penin­sula shook build­ings more than 200 miles away in the cap­i­tal, Cairo.

The epi­cen­ter of the quake was 4 kilo­me­ters (2.5 miles) south­east of the beach­side town of Nuweiba in the Si­nai, and about 75 kilo­me­ters (46 miles) south of Egypt’s bor­der with Is­rael, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey.

Air­ports near Alexandria and Marsa Ma­trouh, along the Mediter­ranean coast, closed and di­verted flights to Cairo due to poor vis­i­bil­ity from the day’s sand­storm, Civil Avi­a­tion Min­is­ter Hos­sam Kamel said in a state­ment. Vis­i­bil­ity reached as low as 500 me­ters at the Burg al-Arab air­port near Alexandria, he said.

Fierce winds whipped through the cap­i­tal as many res­i­dents took cover from the sand by stay­ing in­doors. Oth­ers were seen brav­ing the storm wear­ing sur­gi­cal masks or cov­er­ing their faces with cloth­ing, as the wind sent rub­bish and dust swirling.

At its peak, the sand­storm cov- ered the cap­i­tal in a thick or­ange cloud, dra­mat­i­cally re­duc­ing vis­i­bil­ity.

In the Red Sea town of Da­hab, 68 kilo­me­ters (42 miles) south of the epi­cen­ter of the quake in the Si­nai penin­sula, the tremor shook loose clouds of dust that en­veloped nearby moun­tains, ac­cord­ing to a wit­ness. The quake ap­peared to star­tle lo­cal res­i­dents and tourists. It also shook the nearby Gaza strip. No se­ri­ous dam­age was im­me­di­ately re­ported from the earth­quake in Egypt or in Gaza.

The Egyp­tian Min­istry of Health said in a state­ment that there were no re­ports of deaths or in­juries any­where in Egypt due to the quake.

Is­raeli media re­ported that very mild af­ter­shocks of the earth­quake were felt in some places in the south of the coun­try, but that no dam­age or in­juries were caused.

The ex­treme weather con­di­tions pro­vided fod­der for so­cial media hu­mor. Some won­dered which of the 10 Bib­li­cal plagues would come next, while the pop­u­lar Za­malek soc­cer club tweeted that it wasn’t ac­tu­ally an earth­quake — just prepa­ra­tion for their match tonight.

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