Al Arabiya anchor pushes Saudi official over Jeddah floods

Two people were killed when they were electrocuted by a downed lamp post in Jeddah, prompting social media reactions

Ismaeel Naar
Ismaeel Naar - Al Arabiya News
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An interview featuring Al Arabiya news anchor Khalid al-Madkhali and a Saudi spokesman for the Makkah province, after heavy rainfall flooded Jeddah has gone viral on social media after the journalist pushed the official on why “nothing has changed since 2009.”

After heavy rainfall hit the western coastal city of Jeddah on Tuesday, many took to social media platforms sharing photos and videos showing flooded highways. Many also shared content showing Jeddah citizens abandoning their cars after roads were closed off due to severity of the storm.

Two people were killed when they were electrocuted by a downed lamp post in Jeddah, as severe thunderstorms forced schools and universities to suspend classes in Red Sea city and Makkah for a second day in a row on Wednesday.

“Shouldn’t Makkah province’s authorities be dealing with the poor standards of these roads that allow floods to happen? And to ensure that these incidents don’t happen again, especially after 2009?” Madkhali asked Makkah province spokesman Sultan al-Dosari.

“We’re aware of the problem of the floods in the tunnels and roads, and there needs to be a bigger project that can help with solving the problem,” Dosari replied.

“But this is the same problem since 2009. It’s been seven years.”

At least 123 Jeddah citizens perished in floods in 2009.

A clip of the exchange was shared on YouTube and has garnered nearly 78,000 views by Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to Al Arabiya News, Saudi writer and journalist Omar al-Mudwahi said that while many Jeddah citizens suffered from the havoc caused by the weather, many noticed a difference from 2009.

“People are beginning to see the difference between 2009 and today. There was a sense that authorities were prepared for the storm and deployed the relevant personnel on the ground,” Mudwahi told Al Arabiya News.

“Some online users’ reactions towards officials were understandable. People want to see results and guarantees that deaths caused by flooding won’t happen again. But they can’t demand promises from authorities regarding the new drainage infrastructure that are being put in place because such things need testing, evaluations and time,” Mudwahi.

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