By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Human rights groups said Monday that the death toll of the victims of current protests is expected to increase as many severe injuries were reported, estimating the minimum number of deaths to be 130.
Human Rights Watch confirmed at least 83 dead in Cairo, 36 dead in Alexandria and 15 in Suez, while eyewitnesses told Daily News Egypt they saw tens of bodies that may raise the death toll well above current estimates.
“The numbers we have from Alexandria were taken on Saturday from two hospitals only and in Cairo we were told by doctors at Qasr Al-Aini hospital that there were between 50 and 70 bodies at the morgue,” Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division told Daily News Egypt.
Medical staff at Demerdash hospital in Cairo confirmed to Human Rights Watch that they had received over 100 protesters with injuries caused by live shots. Of those, 30 have died so far.
“Our estimate is that there have been 100 deaths but we aren’t able to specify a final death toll since many deaths were reported at private hospitals and the numbers are constantly changing,” Tarek Zaghlol, director of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said.
Stork said that they expect the final toll to be “somewhat higher” than the current one and that they are being cautious in announcing the numbers.
The majority of deaths were caused by injuries from live bullets while others were attributed to cardiac arrest from teargas asphyxiation and teargas.
Eyewitnesses told Daily News Egypt that they have seen a number of dead bodies and people with severe injuries.
“I have seen 20 dead bodies myself while the total number in the makeshift hospital we were working at was estimated to be 50,” said Aisha Hussein, a British nurse, who was assisting doctors in a mosque in downtown Cairo on Saturday.
“We have been receiving a large number of injured protesters coming from the Ministry of Interior, the majority of whom had live bullets in their bodies,” Hussein said.
According to Hussein, doctors are trying to get the numbers from the hospitals but they are not letting anyone into the morgues.
“I have seen two dead and tens of severe injuries from live bullets at Qasr Al-Aini hospital,” said Abdel Rahman Bayoumi, a university student, who visited the hospital Friday night.
The injuries, according to Bayoumi, were caused by a variety of bullet wounds penetrating bodies and severe head injuries caused by beatings.
Clashes between protesters and security involved teargas and rubber bullets and the occasional use of live bullet, leaving hundreds injured.
On Saturday, live bullets and snipers were used to disperse crowds surrounding the Ministry of Interior.