Egypt: 15 truck drivers stuck on border with Sudan die from extreme heat
The most recent death occurred earlier this week.
According to local media, the truck drivers have been getting stuck and held for long hours at border crossings between the two countries, due to congestion and disruptions to the unloading of items.
The long wait times, coupled with extreme heat, have proved fatal. Meanwhile, other drivers remain at the border, waiting to cross.
Over 4,000 drivers have been stuck at the border in recent weeks, with no response or assistance from authorities. The queue of cars and trucks is believed to extend for around 40 kilometres on the Egyptian side of the border.
Reports from Mada Masr said the crossings have little to no services in the vicinity, meaning that drivers are not able to buy water or rest in car parks. Many have run out of food and resources, while temperatures soar to above 35C.
The congestion has been ongoing for the past two months, with goods piling up at the Qastal and Arqin crossings.
Typically, Egyptian truck drivers would unload their goods into storage warehouses close to the crossings, or hand them over to Sudanese trucks, who distribute them.
However, the ongoing conflict in Sudan, which broke out in April, has caused disruption to the delivery and handling of goods.
Reports say warehouses are at full capacity, with no space for new items, causing a backlog in traffic and drivers waiting at the crossings.
So far, 11 of the deaths have occurred inside Sudan’s borders, while four have died on the Egyptian side.
According to Egypt’s Transport and Communications Syndicate, the bodies of the deceased have been returned to Egypt to be buried over the past few days. However, two of the bodies were buried in Sudan due to the extreme temperatures.
Truck drivers stranded at the crossings have reportedly appealed to Egyptian authorities and the government for help in regulating deliveries at the crossing, as well as providing essentials to those stuck there.
In a video posted online last month, an elderly truck driver reportedly at the crossing pleaded to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to address the situation.
The video, titled “a message to the president”, has been shared over 200 times on Facebook, where the truck driver calls on Sisi to visit the border to see the situation for himself.
“Most of the people at the crossing are elderly, they have left their homes to work for the sake of God… people have run out of water and gas, you should come and visit these poor people and it will be a huge mark in your history as president,” he said.