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Saudi Arabia to Punish Officials for Damage After Jeddah Floods

Saudi Arabia will punish officials for negligence after flooding due to heavy rains damaged infrastructure and displaced people in Jeddah, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing Prince Nayef, the kingdom’s interior minister.

A committee was set up to investigate the response to last month’s floods, which damaged 25,000 buildings, 2,500 shops and 90 percent of the city’s roads, the Riyadh-based news service reported late yesterday. The government had to provide shelter for about 18,000 people, according to the news service.

At least 10 people were killed and 114 injured, Mohammed al-Qarni, General Major in the Civil Defense Department in Jeddah, said in an interview on Jan. 29.

Heavy rains raised water levels in Jeddah to 111 millimeters (4.4 inches) on Jan. 26, according to Mansour al-Mazroui, head of the meteorology department at King Abdulaziz University. That compares with a peak of 90 millimeters in November 2009 when flooding left at least 123 people dead in the city.

King Abdullah warned after the 2009 floods that government departments would be held accountable for inadequate preparation and poor rescue efforts. More than 22,000 people were displaced and 8,092 homes and 7,143 cars destroyed in and around the western city after the floods that year, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The government is now trying to restore traffic, combat diseases, and provide food, fuel and electricity after the latest flooding, the news service said, citing Prince Nayef.

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