Jeddah Waste High in Flood Water

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Flooding caused by heavy rains snarled traffic and left residents wading through waist-high pools of water in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah on Thursday, where 123 people were killed by a flood last year.

Several major roads in the east and south of the Red Sea port city were inundated. Traffic came to virtual halt after dozens of cars broke down, according to an AFP correspondent.

Authorities said the flooding had caused no casualties, but many residents found their homes surrounded by water, which in some districts was knee-high and in others up to the waist.

Jeddah, the kingdom’s second-largest city after Riyadh, was hit by a flood last November that killed 123 people and caused extensive damage.

According to official figures, thousands of families lost their homes in that flood, which destroyed about 11,000 buildings and as many vehicles.

Last May, King Abdullah ordered legal action against officials and contractors for their alleged failures, following an investigation.

The probe focussed on factors that had amplified the flooding, including inadequate drainage and uncontrolled construction in and around the city.

The November floods were followed by an unprecedented Internet campaign by residents who complained of corruption and bad urban planning.

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