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Friday, December 18, 2009

Flood toll goes up to 121

By Muhammad Humaidan

JEDDAH: The official death toll from the Nov. 25 flash flooding in Jeddah rose to 121 on Thursday after Civil Defense officers pulled a body from an undisclosed location. Brig. Muhammad Al-Qarni, director of the Civil Defense’s crisis management center, said the 39 people are still reported missing.

Civil Defense officers also completed a search and recovery operation at Musk Lake, Jeddah’s sewage dumping grounds, on Thursday and found no bodies or vehicles. Al-Qarni said the department has so far registered 11,935 houses and 10,999 cars among properties damaged by the floods. As many as 7,754 families with 26,593 members have been provided accommodation in hotels and furnished apartments.

Meanwhile, citizens have complained that the municipality has not yet removed standing water in the city’s neighborhoods, as they fear such ponds would develop as breeding grounds of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, the International Islamic Relief Organization Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) announced Thursday that it has allocated SR10 million to construct houses of people affected by the Nov. 25 flash floods in Jeddah.

Adnan Khalil Basha, secretary-general of the IIROSA, said his organization would also support the poor families afflicted by the floods in order to make them productive.

“We’ll sponsor Saudi orphans and others,” he added.

Meanwhile, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) said it had distributed food baskets among 3,414 families in the flood-affected areas of Quwaiza, Jamiah, Kilo 11, Kilo 14, Ghulail, Karantina, Madain Fahd, Wadi Ashir and Wadi Mirrikh.

“We have so far carried out 11 food distribution campaigns,” said Muhammad Badahdah, general supervisor of the organization in Makkah province. He said the baskets contained rice, cooking oil, milk, sugar and tea.

WAMY also distributed 8,621 items of basic requirements such as furniture, beds, pillows, blankets and bedsheets.

“Our relief programs comes as part of our efforts to do something good in return for the big support WAMY received from people of Jeddah during the past four decades,” he said.

He said WAMY was one of the first organizations that called for coordination for relief work among the Jeddah flood victims.

Badahdah, who is assistant secretary-general of WAMY, has emphasized the need to develop the volunteering capabilities of youths by providing training.

He said young men and women had done “a wonderful job” in providing relief to Jeddah flood victims.

“The enthusiasm displayed by our youth volunteers was marvelous,” he said, adding that they knew they had big role to play.

“We have responded quickly to Jeddah floods and stopped all our external activities in order to mobilize all our resources and manpower for relief work in Jeddah,” Badahdah said, adding that WAMY’s women volunteers were also involved in relief activities.

Source : Arab News

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