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Jeddah floods and the Sewage System

Jeddah is the second largest city after the capital Riyadh. The city located in the west coast of Saudi Arabia, it’s considered to be the commercial port and the entrance for Hojaj who performs pilgrims every year from all over the world. Jeddah is a modern city with open minded community. Most of those who live in Jeddah are from different countries that came to Saudi Arabia for business or Haj and then decided to settle down in Jeddah before it became part of the kingdom; once it became a part of Saudi Arabia the people who lived there gained the Saudi citizenship in the process.

In 2009 Jeddah experienced its first crisedownload s with floods, resulting into huge loses in buildings and cars and most importantly 123 deaths in only few hours of constant rain. Some parts of the city could not handle it because the sewage system was not built yet.

The picture above is taken after the disaster. The roads here are used to be a high way containing 10 lines, 5 for each direction. Most of the deaths and damages were in that area and the area beyond it where the poor people lived.

In this article (Sewage scandal story can ‘shake Saudi’)  the writer explain the reasons behind this crises. The problems of floods were facing Jeddah since 1980 but it was never as harsh as in

2009.

picture-8Originally the municipality of Jeddah city blamed the huge amount of rain! After the floods the government of Saudi Arabia built an agency called “Anti-corruption Agency” to fight corruption and build the ethical standers in the community. The agency issued a report about the ongoing efforts to develop the sewage system, it shows that the government has spent 1 Billion dollar to solve this issue but the agency judged that the contractor delayed the project which was supposed to end in 2008 and they are the one to be blamed.

There are two issues here which are: if the contractor delayed a project, there is a sum of fines should be applied, also the delay itself should come from governmental authorities which is the “municipality of Jeddah city” a governmental sector who is supposed to appl penalties and reject the delay request. But what happened is that the contractor gained a delay acceptance and the fines were waived as well.

The anti-corruption agency started an investigation against the officials who approved the request and waived the penalties. A total number of 99 people are still in the investigation process and court.

In order for something like this to happen, 99 people who were in charge of this project made an unethical decisions. Most likely because of “money temptation” since the investigations resulted in finding huge sum of money in some of the off-shore accounts of some of the officials. Others who were in the lower ladder hidden their money in their Saudi bank accounts, and others hidden their money in their own houses buried in their backyard after the floods accrued.

This example of unethical choices leaded to the death of 123 people, it also led to damages in houses and cars worth millions of dollars. Roads and bridges were vanished. I believe the engineers who were aware of these violations and accepted it are the most unethical people between all the others. Since they are aware of how dangerous such thing may lead. Yet they approved it for their personal gain.

Others might never imagine this day to come and result in that much of loses. Yet they did what they have done and most likely they well never live their life feeling normal about the event.

The same issue appeared on the surface again in Jeddah, and Riyadh, but luckily the damages in human lives were fewer than the crises in Jeddah 2009.

I believe this unethical scheme is built around an unethical environment which includes high rank officials, companies, government employees, and also citizens. unless the environment had more restricted law against everyone from top to bottom in an equal manner, we will continue to see this happening and more crises to be prepared for.

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