Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1276, (31 December 2015 - 6 January 2016))
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1276, (31 December 2015 - 6 January 2016))

Ahram Weekly

Poor rural records

Al-Ahram Weekly

75 PER CENT of Egyptian villages lack sewage services, 15 per cent face daily water cuts, and only 12 per cent have public secondary schools, reveals a recent survey, reports Sherine Abdel-Razek.

Extending sewage systems is the most pressing need among Egyptian villages with almost three-quarters of 4,650 villages nationwide lacking a basic sewage system and 3.8 per cent of the lucky quarter facing daily blockages.

The survey, prepared by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) to assess the state of basic services in Egyptian villages, points to sewerage and extending roads and building bridges in its what-villages-need-the-most list, while the third most pressing need is building new schools.

One third of the surveyed villages need bakeries, literacy classes and youth sports clubs. The field work of the survey took place between April and July 2015, and data were collected from municipalities and interviews with the mayors of the different villages as well as units affiliated to the Ministry of Social Justice.

According to the survey, 97.5 per cent of villages are connected to the electricity network. However, more than a third of them face black outs for two or three days a week.

As for drinking water, while most villages have access to it, water is cut to 15 per cent of the villages on a daily basis.

While 88 per cent of the villages do not have a public secondary school, primary and preparatory educational services are comparatively good, with 85.1 per cent of villages having both primary and preparatory schools.

As for medical services, only 2.1 per cent of villages have private hospitals and half do not have medical diagnostic labs.

The means of getting rid of trash differ from one village to another. While half the households enjoy garbage-collection services, 12.5 per cent throw the garbage in water passages and small canals and another 12 per cent burn it.

A striking figure is that despite the fact that agriculture is the main employer in 97 per cent of the villages, 13 per cent do not have irrigation canals. Moreover, 71 per cent of canals are often full of waste products.

Piped natural gas is still a dream in 97 per cent of rural Egypt, which still also lacks a network of paved roads with 66 per cent of villages saying their main priority is to have paved roads and bridges.

78 per cent of the inhabitants of urban communities depend mainly on three-wheeled tuk-tuks to move to and from their villages, while only five per cent use public transportation.

The latest available poverty figures are those of 2012 /2013, which showed that 26.3 per cent of Egyptians live in poverty and that poverty remains predominant in rural areas. The highest rates of poverty in the country are in the two Upper Egyptian governorates of Assiut and Qena, at 60 and 58 per cent, respectively.

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