Life of Quarry Workers
Nobody can see when pillars of dust go up. Moving from spot to another one becomes very dangerous. Machines roar very noisy and nobody can hear colleagues shouts.
A man screams but no one understands his words. They understand the reason of his screaming when they see his blood covers the extreme white ground.
This is not a scene from a battlefield, it’s an ordinary working day in Minya limestone quarries 268 kilometers south of Cairo in Egypt. Every dawn at 4:00 AM, more than 20 thousand workers gather at several points to move to the quarries.
According to many NGOs, the number of quarry workers may not be accurate due to the large number of unlicensed quarries that employ thousands of workers illegally. They sat in circles and wear traditional Galabiyas, cheap sunglasses and scarfs waiting quarries’ owners to arrive with trucks which designed to carry goods. Around 15 workers jammed together in each truck, then moved speedily to the quarries on the highway of Minya governorate where many accidents happened. Mary Mina, a syndicate member, who helped me to reach many injured workers before died in a road accident while moving to his work at the quarry. According to reports from NGOs, most of workers who are employed in Minya quarries are farmers and fresh graduates suffering from unemployment. Reports issued from government-affiliated body “Egypt Decision Support Center” said that Upper Egypt’s Minya has some 334 quarries in 2009, but the number skyrocketed to 700 licensed quarries in addition to tens of unlicensed quarries in 2014.