The Jeddah mayoralty has lifted the ban on construction in 2,746 plots in different residential districts of the city after authorities found that it would not block the path of floodwaters during rains.
The ban had been put in place by authorities thinking that construction on these plots would block pathways of floods and cause massive flooding similar to the one occurred in November 2009.
The ban has been lifted on 14 residential districts in Hamdaniyya, Thurayya, Sharq, Swalihiyya, Nahda, Majid, Huda, Uyoon and Al-Qudus Al-Muaddal residential plots, which are located in the valleys of Gaya, Ummu Hablain, Daghbaj and Briman.
“Detailed studies have been carried out on these lands as they are located in the valleys lying in the waterway of floods,” an informed source at the mayoralty said.
The lift of ban comes after Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, chairman of the executive committee for rainwater management, set up a committee including representatives from the governorate and relevant government departments, to study the situation of the plots and whether it would block floodwaters.
The committee included representatives from the Saudi Geological Survey and the Department for Rainwater Management. “The Makkah governor lifted the ban on construction on these sites on the basis of the committee’s recommendation,” a report carried by Al-Madinah Arabic daily said.
The paper said a decision on remaining plots from a total of 2,865 plots in the areas would be taken after further studies.
The government had set up a high-level committee to find the reasons for the 2009 flooding and punish those who caused it. Charges were made against a number of senior municipality officials including engineers for taking bribes, forgery, abuse of power, misusing public funds, and embezzlement.
There are a total of 332 suspects who have already been charged with various crimes linked to the flood disaster. These suspects included six senior officials of Jeddah municipality as well as several officials in the government and private sectors in addition to consultants, engineers, technicians, contractors and businessmen.
Jeddah’s summary court is looking into a number of criminal cases against the suspects while the administrative court is examining several cases pertaining to administrative and financial violations.
The Jeddah court has already issued verdicts against more than half a dozen people involved in the Jeddah flood cases. In the first verdict on May 21, the court awarded jail terms and fines to two defendants — one municipal official and a businessman. Each one of them was sentenced to five years in prison, in addition to fines amounting to SR 500,000.