By Alaina Fagan | Updated May 06, 2018 08:11:55Damaging drought in Egypt could make the country’s rainy season “a new phenomenon” in 2018, a prominent academic has warned.
Damaging waterlogging has forced many Egyptians to abandon the cities in search of rain in the wake of the catastrophic flooding that began in mid-March, as well as the flooding of major rivers.
The waterlogged, over-fished, densely populated country is in a dire state, with many people facing shortages of food and medicine, and the country is bracing for a massive increase in demand for food, according to Alaina Faagan, director of the National Center for Research on Middle East Policy at the University of Chicago.
Egypt is not the only country that has faced the “new phenomenon” of “drought”, said Faagan.
“We know about the phenomenon of ‘drought’, but it is more pronounced in Africa and Asia, and in other places that experience flooding in a very different way,” she said in a statement to Al Jazeera.
“Egypt has already been hit with the largest floods in its history, and a series of other events, including flooding in the Sahara and the Mediterranean, and more than a hundred deaths have been recorded.
These events are likely to be even more significant.”
The World Bank recently said that in 2018 the drought in the world’s most populous country could cost the country more than $5.5 billion in lost gross domestic product (GDP) in the form of lost jobs, as the economy shrinks by more than 20 percent.
While many people in Egypt have opted for travel, many are leaving the country for safety in neighbouring Libya, which has experienced a “catastrophic” rise in floods in recent months, the UN’s refugee agency said in October.
In the past week alone, the Red Sea port of Benghazi has been hit by floods.
More than 100,000 people are currently trapped in a camp in the Libyan capital Tripoli, which is now on its fourth day of flooding, the agency said.
“The situation in Libya is unprecedented and unprecedented in the modern history of the world,” the UNHCR said.
More: “As a result of the recent extreme flooding, more than 90 percent of the population has fled the city.
There is no other option.”
In March, the United Nations warned that a lack of food, water and clean drinking water was a “significant threat to food security in Egypt” with a drought that “could exacerbate already dire conditions”.
In a statement on Thursday, the World Food Programme warned that “the food situation in Egypt remains dire”.
“The Egyptian Government has a responsibility to address the urgent needs of its people, including the immediate food needs of people who are living in temporary accommodation and those who are at risk of malnutrition,” the statement read.
“We are calling on the Government to take immediate measures to improve food security, and to implement a comprehensive programme to support the development of food security programmes in Egypt.”
The Egyptian government has been criticised for its handling of the crisis.
The government, in particular, has not been able to provide basic services such as health care and clean water, and has also been criticised by civil society groups for not providing adequate resources for food distribution and relief, which are crucial for the livelihoods of the countrys poorest citizens.
The World Food Program has said it will launch an aid programme for those who have been affected by the drought.
The United Nations is providing food, medicines and clean food to people in Libya, the statement said.