Mecca, Asharq Al-Awsat – A hotel in this Saudi city collapsed in January because of its ageing structures and an ill-constructed annex, an investigation concluded on Sunday.
The four-storey Luluat al Khair, situated just 61m from the Grand Mosque, caved in on 5 January, during the busy hajj season, killing 76 and injuring 62.
“After a lengthy and through investigation, it has been shown that the building, which was constructed 40 years ago using traditional methods, collapsed because of its ageing structure and an ill-designed annex”, a government statement said.
“Responsibility lay on the shoulders of the first tenant, the architectural bureau, the ministry of commerce and industry’s branch in Mecca and the general secretariat of the holy city.”
The case will be referred to the investigation committee and the public prosecution in order to examine the accusations filed against employees of the ministry of commerce and industry in Mecca and the general secretariat in the city.
“The investigation committee will uncover the reasons behind the negligence and will offer solutions on how to overcome these reasons and avoid their recurrence.”
The investigation committee was established under orders from the minister of interior, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, immediately after the accident occurred. It has provided assistance to the survivors, many who lost their personal possession or documents in the collapse. It repatriated them to their countries and provided financial assistance to the families of victims.
A technical committee was also formed in order to examine all buildings housing pilgrims and ensure they are safe. Amongst the procedures adopted after the accident, the governor of Mecca revoked all the licenses given before the collapse and ordered a re-evaluation of all buildings and a through inspection. The committee was made responsible for meting out licenses for buildings intending to accommodate pilgrims.