Middle East

Egypt heatwave leaves 61 people dead

An Egyptian farmer carries a fan through a street in Cairo (11 August 2015) Image copyright AP
Image caption The Middle East has been hit by a heatwave since late July

A heatwave in Egypt has killed at least 61 people in three days, the health ministry says, as temperatures soared to 47C (116F).

Forty died after suffering heatstroke on Sunday and Monday, and another 21 died on Tuesday, state media reported.

Another 581 people have been admitted to hospital with heat exhaustion.

Most of the victims were elderly, but local media reports said that they also included several detainees and patients at a psychiatric hospital.

Egyptian detention facilities are notoriously overcrowded, while one newspaper said the deaths at the psychiatric hospital were the result of "negligence".

The electricity ministry also blamed the weather for a widespread power outage for several hours on Tuesday in several districts of Cairo, bringing the capital's metro system to a halt.

The Middle East has been hit by a heatwave since late July, with a high atmospheric pressure ridge hovering above much of the region.

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