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MPs demand Egypt's transport minister be held accountable for train crash

A member of Egyptian security forces stands guard before an overturned passenger carriage at the scene of a railway accident in the city of Toukh in Egypt's central Nile Delta province of Qalyubiya on April 18, 2021 [AYMAN AREF/AFP via Getty Images]
A member of Egyptian security forces stands guard before an overturned passenger carriage at the scene of a railway accident in the city of Toukh in Egypt's central Nile Delta province of Qalyubiya on April 18, 2021 [AYMAN AREF/AFP via Getty Images]

Several Egyptian MPs are demanding that the minister of transport be held accountable for the death of 11 people in yet another train crash, this time in Qalyubia Governorate.

Egyptian Democratic Party deputy Freddy Al-Bayadi called on Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Transport Minister Kamel Al-Wazir to "take the necessary measures to develop the management of the railway facility in accordance with safety and quality standards."

Al-Bayadi drew attention to a statement issued by authorities in Qalyubia Governorate which said that the excessive speed the train was travelling at was the reason for the accident.

The MP called for a review of the state's general budget and the amount allocated for restoring the railway line.

Calls by members of parliament come as Egypt has been hit by a series of train crashes over the past few weeks.

On 26 March two trains collided in Sohag Governorate south of the capital Cairo, killing 20 people and injuring hundreds more.

Then in the middle of April, a train travelling from Cairo derailed in Sharqia Governorate injuring 15.

READ: Bus and truck collide in Upper Egypt killing 20

Egypt's railways are dilapidated and in desperate need of restoration. Critics say that hundreds of deaths could be avoided if money was spent restoring the track but the government has repeatedly failed to make the necessary investments.

Between 2013 and 2019 there were more than 10,000 train accidents, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics.

The MPs' demands join growing discontent among members of the public to give answers as to why there are so many road and train accidents in Egypt.

Following the crash in Sohag Egyptians called on the transport minister to resign and anger further swelled after authorities blamed junior employees instead.

Social media users questioned why the Railway Authority was not held accountable and neither was Kamel Al-Wazir.

Al-Wazir has previously issued instructions to train drivers to drive fast and to deactivate ATC devices, which controls the speed of the train.

He responded to calls for his resignation by saying, "Why should a minister leave when problems occur in his ministry?"

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