Saudi in an uproar
Jeddah is in ruins after only four hours of rain, and Saudis face further strife if the city’s sewage lake breaks the dam. A sewage lake?
December 1, 2009 3:02 by kippreport
If Saudi citizens are vocal enough to go online and openly criticize their government, then you know they’re angry. Given that the Saudi Arabian government doesn’t take criticism well, the comments left by nationals on Facebook pages and blogs are indicative of how bad the situation must be in Jeddah following the flood on Wednesday.
The death toll, which varies between 100 and 107 in news reports, and the infrastructural damage caused by the flood have prompted Saudis to join groups such as an Arabic-language Facebook group entitled “Popular Campaign to Save the City of Jeddah.”
Most of the over 26,000 people who signed up to the aforementioned Facebook Group are calling for the government to act swiftly to provide shelter for the 1,200 displaced families, and to advise the public on the status of the sewage lake, popularly known as Lake Musk. They also criticized the government for failing to admit sooner that 70 percent of Jeddah lacks adequate drainage systems.
“People have been very vocal … and unafraid because they’ve seen the worst. They have reached their breaking point,” Reem Asaad, a Jeddah-based lecturer, told The Christian Science Monitor. “We’re fed up living in a city like Jeddah … where services and infrastructure are poor. We deserve much better.”
Jeddah’s mayor, Adel Faqih, explained that the rainfall was more than the city’s drainpipes could handle:
“Let me say that it was a 3.7-inch rainfall, which was a very big flow into the one-inch drainage pipes. That is four times more than the capacity of our current drainage pipes,” he told Okaz.
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