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Scorching Egypt heatwave kills at least 42

As temperatures top 104 degrees Farenheit, casualties include German resident, psychiatric patients and prisoners

An Egyptian farmer carries an electric fan as she walks through a Cairo street , Egypt, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
An Egyptian farmer carries an electric fan as she walks through a Cairo street , Egypt, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO — A scorching heatwave in Egypt turned deadly this week, killing at least 42 people, including a German resident, patients in a psychiatric hospital and detainees, officials said Tuesday.

The Mideast has been hit by a heatwave since late July. Egyptian summers are usually hot, but temperatures this week soared to 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) in the south.

The Health Ministry said 21 people died from the heat on Sunday, when temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the country’s north. Nineteen more died on Monday, authorities said, mostly elderly citizens.

A German national living in the southern city of Luxor died on Tuesday from heatstroke, according to security official Essam el-Desouki. Egypt’s official MENA news agency said he was in his sixties.

A 62-year old Egyptian in the southern city of Assiut also died Tuesday, health official Ahmed Anwar said. Twenty-six of the fatalities were in Cairo, which has at least 18 million residents.

Three patients at a psychiatric hospital north of Cairo also died from the heat. Three detainees in a jail north of Cairo died as well, said a security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Egyptian prisons and detention facilities are notoriously overcrowded.

Compounding the woes from the heatwave was a widespread power outage Tuesday in several Cairo neighborhoods that lasted a few hours and briefly brought the city’s subway to a halt.

The Ministry of Electricity blamed the outage on increased consumption that briefly knocked out a power transformer in western Cairo. In rural and southern Egypt, power cuts are usual.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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