The Saudi media is reporting that some 40 individuals—government officials, contractors, and others—have been ‘detained’ for their roles in the Jeddah flood catastrophe. Whether these are the only ones responsible (unlikely) or the most responsible is open to question. Questionable, too, is whether these individuals are the ones most ‘detain-able’ through lack of high-level connections.
Arab News, in its report, explains that the detainees are not yet accused of action or inaction that led to the flooding, but that they are being questioned about their roles and about the situation in general:
40 detained for flood catastrophe
Muhammad Humaidan | Arab News
JEDDAH: More than 40 people including government officials, contractors and engineers have been detained for questioning in connection with the Nov. 25 Jeddah floods.
The high-level committee in charge of investigating the deluge summoned seven senior officials and employees at the Jeddah municipality for questioning on Sunday.
The officials included assistants to the mayor and those in charge of some service departments. They were called to submit their views on the deluge and the reasons why it occurred. Arab News obtained the names of the seven being questioned, but reserved the right to name them.
Informed sources said the municipality has put all of its resources under the committee’s disposal, adding that it will not show any negligence in providing information required by the panel.
The Saudi Gazette/Okaz report is briefer. It does highlight that the matter of deeds for properties in the flood-stricken areas is being investigated.
I continue to believe that the public reaction to the flooding is pushing government action in a way similar to that which followed the 2002 fire at a girls school in Mecca. Accountability, at least in one sector, is being demanded.