Rain disaster: King seeks urgent report
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has directed the authorities concerned to prepare a detailed and urgent report on the rain-related destruction in Jeddah.
This was revealed by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal on Wednesday. He said he has verbally informed the king on what had happened as a result of the rains and that a detailed report will be presented to him soon.
According to a report in an online news portal, the governor expressed thanks to King Salman for his deep concern for the well-being of the welfare of citizens and residents. Prince Khaled said they were following the example of King Salman who publicly stated that constructive criticism is welcome from everyone. “Our doors are open to all to provide constructive criticism,” he said.
The governor said that initial reports indicated that some channels for rainwater disposal did not function because of defective maintenance and that some tunnels were filled with water because the machines that pump out water were not functioning because of lack of power.
There was moderate to heavy rain on Monday evening and Tuesday morning in Madinah and surrounding areas including Al-Ola, Al-Aiss, Khaibar, Yanbu, Badr, Wadi Al-Fara and Al-Hanakiyah.
In Jeddah, motorists and residents complained that several roads were flooded, resulting in many people stranded in their cars, especially Bani Malik tunnel on Palestine Street, which was still closed on Wednesday morning.
Hasan Mubarak, a motorist, said while Jeddah Municipality had stated that it had deployed over 1,600 workers to counter flooding and assist people stranded in the streets.
Another motorist, Abdullah Baksh, told Arab News that the tunnels on King Abdullah road was closed and five cars were almost under water. He said he managed to save a child from drowning there, with the help of a friend. He said municipality officials should close roads if they know there would be flooding.
Ibrahim Sheikh, another motorist, said that the municipality did not warn people that a deep hole had appeared in Tahliya Street. This could have caused serious injury and damage to cars. He said he barely managed to prevent his small vehicle from falling into the hole.
Meanwhile, it appeared that most Jeddah tunnels do not have proper drainage. At least four tunnels were inundated with water after the heavy rain on Tuesday, said a source at the municipality.
He said the municipality had fired three contractors after the 2010 floods because of the failure of these companies to implement rainwater drainage systems. “Despite contracting new partners, the situation remains the same,” said the source.
A security source said Tayara Tunnel was dealt with immediately when water began collecting there. The tunnel at the intersection of Palestine Street and Prince Majed bin Abdulaziz Street had the most water, resulting in complete closure. Work is underway to drain all water from the tunnel.
Mohamed Al-Buqami, spokesman of the municipality, said water that had filled these tunnels had run down from surrounding neighborhoods that were situated at a higher level.