Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shameful! Jeddah Crippled by Rain Yet Again

It rarely rains in Jeddah, but when it does, it reeks havoc on this city of almost 4 million people.  Schools are canceled.  We lose internet service.  The streets flood.  Hundreds of homes and cars are damaged.  And people get electrocuted or drown - and some die.  The municipality has absolutely no drainage system.  There is no where for the rain water to go.  It's ridiculous that a city of this size is literally crippled and brought to its knees from a little rain.  Promises have been made for years that this issue has been addressed, yet every time it rains, it's the same old thing once again.

Saudi Arabia imports unskilled laborers from poor countries to do cheap and shoddy construction work and if the job is not closely supervised, as many are not, the quality suffers, of course.  It may look pretty good at first glance, but it's always a shock when that first rain comes.

The quality of construction work in this region would be shocking to most of you.  Can you believe that it is not standard procedure to seal all doors and windows?  So with all the dry dust and sandstorms, you can imagine how filthy homes get here if the sealing is not taken care of.  But when it rains, doors and windows leak and it's a mess, not to mention how it ruins the walls and finishes as well as creating mold problems.  People move into nice newly constructed apartments or villas, and then when the first rain comes, they are shocked at the damage and mess. 

To alleviate the horrendous traffic problems in this congested city, a series of tunnels and bridges have been built to replace major intersections and roundabouts.  But trying to solve the traffic problem this way has created an even worse problem when it rains, as the tunnels fill up with rain water.  Many people have died in the tunnels in the past few years.

My husband and I spent several hours yesterday bailing out at least 15 big buckets of water from our stairwell to the rooftop. It's a large area that has windows all around the top and is covered by one of those fiberglass outdoor tent style roofs.  None of it is sealed.  The leaking happens every time it rains here.  For some reason my husband won't have the roof replaced or sealed up.  Thankfully he did have the doors and windows to our flat sealed up after the first rain we experienced when we moved in. 

I lived in Florida for many years, where there are hurricanes and sometimes, even normally, it rains for days on end - and I cannot believe that something has not been done about this situation in Jeddah.  It's shameful for the citizens of Jeddah in this oil rich county to be made to suffer like this with such crappy infrastructure that can't handle a little rain.

I did not take most of these photos (many I found online at this website), but many of them were taken not far from where we live.  It rained for 1-2 hours yesterday morning - that's it.



  1. So sorry you had to go through this again. And what's more astounding, this is perennial. Where is the accountability of the municipal and national government?

  2. Wow! That's a lot of flooding! We had severe flooding here in Michigan a few years ago but that was after heavy rain for about 3 straight hours!

  3. We all Malaysian pray for Jeddah..

  4. Even within the US quality of construction varies. We rented a renovated older farm house in Memphis and the rain came right in. Now that we are back in MN, the house is truly sealed up from the weather.

    I looked online the rainfall was less than one inch. This should not cause a mess.

  5. I can just imagine those tunnels! Not having a proper drainage system seems ridiculous...apparently everyone has enough money to keep replacing all that is damaged. What has happened to logic?

  6. it seems that contractors of these roads and bridges are not keen in laying proper drainage system because of an excuse that Jeddah gets rains once in bluemoon and again if it has to be executed, money has to be spent for it; even some good Samaritans insists, they are warned to keep their eyes shut and finish off the project without this drainage.

  7. Oh gosh - that is a lot of rain and not enough infrastructure to take care of it all. Take care.

  8. Strong documentary! I should not complain about the rain here in Stavanger

  9. WOW. I live in Missouri (close to St. Louis) and it can rain here for DAYS! I cannot imagine what kind of mess the amount of rain we received here was transferred over to your neck of the woods. Stay dry!

  10. Wow, I cannot imagine. Praying for everyone.

  11. Susie thank you for posting.

    Pictures speak a thousand words, however I must insist on defending the authorities, this deluge is beyond their control.

    Some 6 years ago we were one of the contractors involved in the Outfall Project, a system devised to mitigate the impact of flooding.
    This was a massive undertaking and I cannot explain why it hasn't functioned as design. I am a contractor, not a consultant.
    The consultant appointed was a leading, world class company.
    So important was the completion of this matter we had direct access to the Minister of the Interior (who sadly passed away) while the work was ongoing, this however did not delay matters.

    For building and construction standards on Villas I am unable to comment.