In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Prince Khalid al Faisal, Governor of Mecca, discussed the Jeddah floods that were caused by torrential rainfall causing a tidal wave to hit the city. Prince Khalid al Faisal offered his condolences to those killed in the floods, and spoke on strategic issues that have been raised in the aftermath of this disaster.
The following is the text of the interview.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] The problem of rainfall is not new to Jeddah. It has been a persistent problem for decades; what will you do to confront this problem in the coming days?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] Our hearts and thoughts are with the families of the deceased and missing, and as you said, the problem of rainfall is an eternal one and it is not confined to Jeddah alone; if you watch television these days you will see that it is a problem in the US, Britain, and China, etc.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] The project to drain the rainfall and [prevent] flooding has been long awaited, and it was promised that the project would be completed years ago, but nothing happened in this regard. Do you believe this increased the magnitude of the disaster, which, so far, has claimed the lives of 83 people?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] It is a problem, but according to the reports of the concerned ministries, it will be resolved, God willing.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What are the reports on the extent of the damage caused by the flooding?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] Committees have been formed to investigate the damage, and the results will be announced after it [the committee] has finished its work.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is the number of people reported missing in Jeddah since the flooding occurred?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] The death toll stands above 80, and this is expected to increase.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] For years people have been afraid of the sewage dam in eastern Jeddah known as Misk Lake flooding? What solutions do you propose for this?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] The solutions have been announced by the Jeddah municipality, and published in the press, and they are being implemented.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is the mechanism being implemented to help those affected by the flooding in Jeddah?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] This is the mechanism implemented by the Ministry of Finance in disaster situations.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] This is the first time Jeddah has faced flooding on this scale since you became Governor of Mecca. Were you expecting rainfall on such a scale?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] Nobody expects a disaster of this size.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Will this disaster change the strategic plans that you are developing in order to provide a solution to the problem of flooding?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] The plans rely on balance and running parallel with development, and there is no change.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is the situation in Mecca and how is the Hajj situation?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] The situations are good.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Was there any damage to Mecca as a result of the rainfall?
[Prince Khalid al Faisal] There was no damage, thank God.