Fire breaks out at site of Egypt's new museum

Fire breaks out at site of Egypt's new museum
Firefighters rushed to the scene of a blaze at the site of Egypt's new museum.
2 min read
29 April, 2018
Photos on social media showed thick black smoke rising from the site [Twitter]

A fire broke out at the building site of Egypt's new museum on Sunday, officials reported.

Firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, which appeared to have consumed wooden scaffolding at surrounding the Grand Egyptian Museum, located near the famed pyramids of Giza just outside Cairo, the state news agency MENA reported, citing security officials.

No significant damages to artefacts or injuries were reported.

Videos shared on social media showed flames and thick black fumes rising over the entrance of the museum.

The museum will hold some of the country's most unique and precious artefacts, including that of the famed boy King Tutankhamun. The building covers around 490,000 square metres.

The statue of Ramses II, one of Egypt's most famous pharaohs, adorned the entrance hall of the museum.

Officials hope that the opening of the new museum, alongside a number of recent discoveries, will boost a declining tourism industry that has hit the country.

The number of foreign tourists in Egypt went from 14.7 million in 2010 to 5.4 million in 2016, on the back of the suspension of flights and turmoil following the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

In 2017 that number recovered to 8.3 million visitors, according to official figures.

Revenues from tourism at the same time dropped by two thirds, from $11.6 billion in 2010 to $3.8 billion in 2016.