Story at a glance
- Waves of deadly scorpions were swept into the city of Aswan last week because of severe storms and flooding.
- More than 500 people were hospitalized and treated for scorpion stings and three people were killed, though officials said those deaths were “storm-related.”
- Rain is extremely rare in Aswan, and the region is ill-equipped for major storms.
Heavy rain in Egypt last week swept waves of venomous scorpions into city streets and homes, killing three people and injuring more than 500, according to Egyptian authorities.
Intense thunderstorms and hail along the River Nile Friday and Saturday caused severe flooding, and the rising water level carried scorpions from their burrows, along with snakes, and unleashed them on the nearby city of Aswan.
Stings from scorpions hospitalized at least 503, the region’s governor, Ashraf Attia, told The Associated Press. Attia said all of them were discharged after receiving anti-venom doses. The government run Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported doctors were pulled away from administering COVID-19 vaccinations to assist with treatments.
All three of the reported deaths were attributed to “storm-related accidents,” Ehab Hanafy, the Health Ministry’s Undersecretary in Aswan, told the Washington Post, emphasizing they were “absolutely not because of scorpion stings.”
Photos and videos posted to social media over the weekend showed flooded streets and damaged buildings. Rainfall also caused widespread power outages and brought down street lamps and trees.
The fat-tailed scorpion native to Egypt is among the most dangerous in the world, capable of killing a human in under an hour.
Hanafy said stings are extremely common in the region, and it’s not abnormal for 100 people per day to require care from scorpion stings, the Washington Post reported.
What’s not so common in Aswan is rain, as it averages about 0.12 inches of rain per year. Weather models estimated 0.5 to 2 inches of rain on Friday and Saturday — four to 15 times Aswan’s annual average precipitation.
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