x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Saudi Arabia promises Jeddah projects after floods kill 10

Floods damaged more than 90% of Jeddah's roads and some 27,000 buildings last week, forcing the evacuation of more than 18,000 people.

JEDDAH // Saudi Arabia promised to improve infrastructure in its second-largest city after floods swept through the city, a major port, and killed 10 people, triggering rare protests among residents complaining of neglect.

On Friday, authorities detained dozens of residents protesting against poor infrastructure in a country that has billions of petrodollars to spend.

According to official figures, floods damaged more than 90 per cent of Jeddah's roads and some 27,000 buildings last week, adding to woes of residents who have long complained about a lack of sewers in a city of four million.

King Abdullah, who is recuperating in Morocco after undergoing medical treatment in New York, set up a committee to hire foreign firms to improve the infrastructure to avoid future floods, the state news agency SPA said late on Tuesday.

The interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, also said the government would launch an investigation and punish those responsible for floods.

"What happened in Jeddah has shown negligence and mistakes," Prince Nayef said. "There are intentional mistakes resulting from delinquency and unintentional mistakes, and this will not be ignored at present or in future."

SPA said more than 4,900 families and 18,000 individuals were evacuated during the floods last week when some streets were submerged under four meters of water in housing areas built in valleys.