Mubarak and ministers discuss floods

President Hosni Mubarak held a meeting at the Presidential Palace on Saturday with Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the ministers of defense, housing, social solidarity, agriculture, water resources and irrigation, transportation, and the head of the office of the president.

Government sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the two-hour meeting focused on the aftermath of the torrential rains, financial compensation to disaster-hit victims in Aswan and the Sinai Peninsula, and plans to prevent a similar disaster in the future.

President Mubarak urged a revision of state construction plans in areas around rain canals, the sources said.

Mubarak was briefed about ministerial plans to undertake national projects in Sinai, especially the reclamation of 400,000 feddans in North Sinai. He also gave orders to increase settlement in the peninsula.

Mubarak reviewed three reports submitted by the housing, irrigation and transport ministers on the losses incurred due to the showers. The ministers affirmed that the floods had some positive impacts: reducing salinity and improving soil quality, ameliorating the performance of the Sinai’s underground reservoir, and facilitating the cultivation of 6000 feddans in Wadi el-Arish.

According to the sources, Mubarak requested that specialized studies be conducted on enhancing the use of torrential rains in agriculture, especially in Sinai.

Mohamed Hussein el-Qolali, head of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Agency, added that recent water and soil samples show that the rains did not result in increased radioactivity.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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