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Up to 12 killed, dozens homeless in Egypt floods

British tourist, several Egyptians killed in heavy rains

At least twelve people were killed, including a British tourist, during unusually heavy rain storms in Egypt on Monday that destroyed homes and disrupted road traffic, officials said.

Power lines were damaged in the south of the country and in the Sinai peninsula, but a senior regional power company official in Aswan, Mohamed Farag, told state news agency MENA the Aswan High Dam hydroelectric facility was unaffected.

The British man and two Egyptian women were killed when the boat they were sailing in capsized in the River Nile at Aswan, a popular tourist destination, the spokesman for Egypt's cabinet said.

Deadly flash floods

Rains of this magnitude, which began Sunday night, are rare in this largely arid region and where heavy precipitation can result in sudden and deadly flash floods.

Around 300 clay built homes were destroyed in villages around Aswan, killing two Egyptians and seriously injuring two more, Aswan governor Mostafa el-Sayed told Reuters.

Scores of families in Aboul-Rish village in Aswan slept overnight outdoors after their homes were destroyed.

To the east, two Egyptians also died and others were injured when their homes were destroyed by the rain across Sinai, security sources and witnesses said.

"A woman died and 13 were injured after huge floods surged into South Sinai," the governor of South Sinai, Abdel el-Fadeel Shousha, said. A security source said a man died in North Sinai.

The cabinet spokesman said some roads had been blocked, trapping cars and trucks, and government officials were investigating the extent of the flooding.

Power failures

In the famed monument city of Luxor, just to the north, the bad weather caused power failures in several neighborhoods and disrupted Nile cruises, sailboat and ferry schedules.

Flooding wiped out large sections of a major road in Egypt's south Sinai and destroyed two dozen homes in Ras Sudr, according to Mohammed Fayez, the head of emergency services.

The heavy rains also killed one woman, left 14 missing and damaged the roof of Sharm el-Sheik's old airport, he said. President Hosni Mubarak flew to Sharm el-Sheik and inspected the damage.

Egypt's Middle East News agency reported that Mubarak ordered compensation be paid to the victims of the floods and he advised against the building of traditional mud brick homes.

Witnesses in Taba, another tourist resort across the border from Israel, said the churning waters swept the sand on the beaches out to sea.

In northern Sinai, officials at the provincial operation room dealing with the crisis said the flooding destroyed over 100 homes and many village huts.

Finally in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada, a 24-year-old Egyptian woman drowned when flooding swept her off a main road, according to the state news agency.

The agency also reported five Egyptian ports on the Red Sea were also shut because of stormy seas, and lack of visibility.