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Storms and Scorpions

On the weekend of Nov. 13, an unusual phenomenon took place in the Aswan province of Egypt. The area of Southern Egypt where the Aswan city and Province are located typically receives only one millimeter of rainfall annually. But in the largest storm seen in 11 years, the province saw rare downpours of rain and sightings of hail. The storm itself, causing a total of three deaths in the region, wasn’t the only uncommon sighting in the region. The storm forced thousands of scorpions out of their dens in the mountains and into the people of Aswan’s homes to seek a new shelter.

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion, or Androctonus Crassicauda (which translates in Greek to “Man-Killer”), is a scorpion found typically in the Aswan Province and is considered one of the deadliest scorpions in the world. Without treatment, the sting of the Fat-Tailed Scorpion could result in the death of a fully grown human in only one hour. While the sighting of a few of these scorpions would not usually make international news, the conglomerate of scorpions moving into populated areas of Aswan resulted in over 500 stings in only two days. 

With the initial scorpion sting, victims can expect to experience severe pain, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, sweating, head twitches, and muscle spasms. Luckily, with this type of scorpion and sting being so common in the region, the Egyptian government holds over 3,000 doses of anti-venom in the Aswan District alone. As a result of the large number of available dosages of anti-venom, there were no reported deaths due to the scorpions. As for the actual storm, the region was deeply impacted by the menacing weather. Schools and roadways had to be shut down, power outages were reported across the region and traffic on the Nile River was even halted.

Since acting health minister Khalid Abdel-Ghafar reported no deaths in the region due to the scorpion bites, the momentary crisis of the surge in cases has mostly been averted. However, the damage from the storm remains. As a result of the unprecedented storms in the region, three members of Egypt’s Security Forces were killed and some industrial wear and damage to resources remain. Hopefully, now that the crisis is over, these normally peaceful and solitary scorpions have returned back to their dens, and will not be forced from their dens for at least another 11 years.