How city hall’s promises to clean up Alexandria, Egypt get washed away by winter floods


Entire neighbourhoods in Alexandria transform into puddles of wastewater during the rainy winter months. (Photos posted on Facebook)
Entire neighbourhoods in Alexandria transform into puddles of wastewater during the rainy winter months. (Photos posted on Facebook)

Residents in several neighbourhoods in Alexandria, Egypt have been forced to wade through smelly water full of rubbish since their area flooded in early January. They say they are exhausted by the authorities’ repeated empty promises to find a solution.

Wastewater mixed with rainwater flooded the streets of the El Falaki neighbourhood.

Polluted water has flooded the entrances of certain buildings.

On social media, Alexandria residents have been calling on the government to finally start to implement proper drainage and sewage systems in the neighborhood - a promise that authorities have been making for years.

After floods in 2015, the governor of Alexandria announced that 75 million Egyptian pounds (equivalent to 4.42 million euros) had been allocated for the construction of a proper sewage and drainage system.

Ahmed Alchaeur, who lives in the El Falaki neighbourhood, said that he is sick of hearing the authorities make empty promises to improve local infrastructure, which he says they’ve been making since 2008. He says his neighbourhood is currently sitting in a pool of polluted water, which he worries may destroy the foundations of local buildings.

For years, we’ve been living in inhumane conditions. The sanitation project in El Montazah should have been finished years ago. There are some roads that are now flooded because of construction that’s been going on for years. The governorate allocated 40 million Egyptian pounds (2.26 million euros) to improve sewage systems in our neighbourhood. However, each time we bring in the contractors who were employed by the city to lay the pipes, they claim that there is no way they can connect the pipes in our neighbourhood with the main system in Alexandria.

This meeting between El Falaki neighbourhood residents and local officials in April 2019 led to renewed promises to start renovations on the sewage system.

We’ve been living in this situation since 2008. The pipes spew out polluted water into our streets. This is a threat to the health of the local population, especially as polluted water running through our neighbourhood might seep under our buildings. It’s a tragedy for many people living in El Montazah. Each time, it’s the same promises but there is never a solution.

Ali Sabri, who lives in the El Falaki neighbourhood, says that the authorities hired a private company to work on the sewage system. But the company says it hasn’t been able to find a way to connect local sewage pipes with the wider network. During the rainy winter months, life gets even more difficult for residents. Sabri is calling on the authorities to put an end to what he says is an unbearable situation.

For years, we’ve been calling on the authorities to find a solution to connect our neighbourhood to the general city-wide sewage system.

In 2019, we held several meetings with local representative Aboul Abbas Tourki who assured us that this construction work was moving ahead and that all the obstacles that stood in the way of its progression would be removed, but for the time being, we haven’t seen the results.

The streets of the El Falaki neighbourhood are flooded with a mix of rainwater and wastewater during the winter months. Residents are calling on authorities to urgently find a solution to the crisis.

The France 24 Observers team reached out to the Alexandria government but, thus far, haven’t received a response to our queries.

Article by Omar Tiss.