Press communiqué

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy ECCD offers its sincerest condolences to those who lost loved ones in the trains' collision in Sohag, Egypt.
ECCD salutes the contribution of ordinary people for the rescue efforts to the wounded and deplores the lack of preparedness of the authorities.
A collision between two trains killed at least 19 people and injured 185 in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag on Friday, according to a Health Ministry statement delivered Saturday, Reuters reported. Previously, the number of casualties reported was 32 deaths. The exact number of deceased and injured may never be disclosed.

The crash occurred north of the provincial capital, Sohag, between two passenger trains both heading north toward the capital, Cairo.

ECCD is demanding an independent, transparent investigation into the crash, not convenient explanations dolled out by the Minister of Transportation. When he visited the site, under heavy guard, trying to soothe the people with promises, he had to retreat followed by angry shouts of 'Irhal' (Leave).

ECCD is also demanding adequate preparedness of the emergency services. Videos posted on social media showed passengers coated with dust and debris, walking in a daze inside derailed and mangled train carriages. Others were writhing with pain and crying for help.

ECCD deplores that money is allocated to infrastructure that benefits only enclaves frequented by the wealthy rather than the daily transportation means used by the working classes.

Background Information:

Friday's collision immediately brought scrutiny to Egypt's rail system, one of the oldest in the world and largest in the region. Construction on the first railway line in Egypt, between Alexandria and Kafr Eassa, began in 1851. Once among the most efficiently in the world, the rail network has suffered from under funding over past decades with tragic consequences.

Data released by Egypt's official statistics agency showed 1,657 train accidents in 2017, up from 1,249 the year before.

El-Sissi has infamously declared that it will be more profitable to collect interest on the millions of Egyptian pounds (needed to modernize the transportation infra-structure), by depositing the money in a bank.
However, in January, Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding with Germany's Siemens for construction of a $23 billion high-speed train line that would run from Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to New Alamein on the Mediterranean coast, two resorts for the wealthy. It would also
pass through a new capital city being built east of Cairo, for El-Sissi administration.
Even with the disruption caused by the coronavirus, 1.4 million passengers per day used the nation's trains and metro network, Egypt's Transportation Ministry said last April.

According to the Washington Post, the Egyptian prime minister has offered roughly $6,300 to the families of the deceased and just over $2,500 for those injured.