On their way home for the holy holiday known as Ramadan, fifteen Egyptian soldiers were killed after their bus crashed into a truck on a highway near the country’s coast. The wreck happened on Sunday July 21, 2013.
The deadly accident happened on the road between Cairo and the city of Alexandria. The soldiers were headed home to spend the holy month of Ramadan with their families, according to reports by the Associated Press.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims all across the world observe the holy month by fasting. This month is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month either lasts for twenty-nine or thirty days depending on the phases of the moon.
During Ramadan, fasting is done from dawn until the sun sets. Muslims also do not participate in the drinking of liquids, smoking of any type of tobacco, or any type of sexual relations. They also do not swear during this holy time.
Fasting is not a twenty-four hour thing. They do serve food and drink daily. The food and drinks are served before the sun rises and after the sun sets.
A total of forty people were also injured in the crash. The injured were taken to the Nile Delta province of Beheira for medical treatment.
It is estimated that over 12,000 people die across Egypt each year due to road traffic accidents. The country has a road traffic fatality rate of forty-two deaths per one hundred thousand people, according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Road accidents in Egypt are common due to badly maintained roads and also to the fact that traffic laws are very poorly enforced. For many years, Egyptians have complained to their government about the chronic problems that their roadways have. Lack of law enforcement upholding traffic laws is another serious issue that adds to the mounting deaths each year on Egyptian highways. Egyptian officials state that they just do not have the funds necessary to put law enforcement in any formidable numbers out onto the highways to enforce the laws. Speeding is the main cause of Egyptian highway accidents.
According to a 2012 World Health Organization report, “road accidents kill about 12,000 people each year in the country with a population of about 90 million.” Poor road conditions and lax traffic law enforcement are blamed.
Back in October of 2012, twenty-one members of the country’s security forces were killed in an automobile accident located on a stretch of road in the Sinai peninsula, which is close to the Israeli border.
Back in November of 2012, the country’s transport minister resigned after a school bus accident resulted in the death of fifty children between the ages of four and six. The children were killed when their bus was struck by a train near the town of Manfalut, which is located about 350km (230 miles) south of Cairo.