The body of the 20-year-old Copt Mina Mohsen Rifaat who was swept by torrential rains, has finally been found following a three-day search which involved combing the riverbed throughout a one kilometre stretch. The body was found floating on the river near the spot where the monastery is located.
Rifaat was a worker at the monastery of al-Amir Tadros on the mountainside on the east bank of the River Nile at Assiut, some 350km south of Cairo. When torrential rains came crashing towards the monastery on 14 November, Rifaat was near the fencing wall. He climbed up hoping to be safe from the waters, but the rains hit the wall, broke it down, and swept the debris downhill towards the river.
The monastery suffered severe losses, including its fencing wall and the ruin of its livestock farms and carpentry workshops. One worker was injured but, apart from Rifaat, there were no casualties.
Rifaat is the second of three brothers whose family lives in the Assiut village of al-Hawatka. He holds a secondary school technical diploma, and had worked at the monastery after he graduated from school. All who knew him, in his home village and at the monastery, mourn in him a fine, caring young man. His funeral has been held in his home village of Hawatka where he was buried.
Torrential rains in Upper Egypt are infrequent but devastating. The most recent, which occurred on 13 November and hit al-Amir Tadros’s, also hit hard the village of Beni Shuqair, rendering the villagers homeless. The Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity has set up camps to accommodate them, and is offering them humanitarian relief and medical services. The Church too has offered relief and services; Anba Lucas, Bishop of Abnoub, al-Fateh, and New Assiut delegated a number of priests to visit the camps, comfort and help the inmates, and distribute the relief contributions.
18 November 2018