Tag Archive: saudi

When it rains, it pours.

Riyadh Rain - Logo by Ahmed Al Haddad

Designed by: Ahmed Al Haddad (@cdes). Shows the two famous skyscrapers in Riyadh drowning.

My post on the Jeddah floods of November 2009 is long overdue and it has always been on my list of posts to be written. But an opportunity came knocking when a similar rain hit Riyadh earlier today and caused similar damages, if not as strong as Jeddah, to the infrastructure of the city.

The Jeddah floods helped in unveiling a lot of infrastructural defects and bad town planning by the Jeddah municipality over a period of decades. It arose a lot of questions by the citizens which led to the king calling for an official investigation. It led to the arrest of many officials at the Jeddah Mayoralty and un-covered the not-so-hidden cases of corruption and bribery by them. What really saddens me is that, even though the investigation hasn’t reached anywhere yet, the end result of their actions led to the death of 120+ people (unofficially: 500+) and damage to even the latest road and bridge projects across the city.

I really hope that the devastation in Riyadh is not that serious and pray for the well-being of everyone there. The presence of a number of geeks in Riyadh didn’t go wasted either as a new website was launched within hours of the rain : RiyadhRain.com

The website gathers all the tweets from all the users of Twitter in and around Riyadh that puts the tag #RiyadhRain. It also has a collection of videos uploaded on YouTube by hundreds of users that also shows how the humanitarian efforts are being carried out by the citizens, which is worth another post that I hope to be writing very soon.


Swine what?

swine flu1

As the number of swine flu affected patients in Saudi Arabia increases, people are panicking more and more. So what does the government do about it to calm the people down? It releases newspaper reports such as this and that telling us what measures they are taking to prevent its entry into the Kingdom and how all entry points into Saudi Arabia are being watched.

Well, guess what? I landed in King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Friday night on a flight that was full of passengers from UK and Switzerland and no one in the flight was even stopped by the Ministry of Health, let alone checked/given vaccines.


Swine flu doesn’t have any physical symptoms. So they cannot randomly choose someone from the crowd and be tested. Coming from UK where there is more than a 1000 cases of swine flu,  I was really amazed how everyone here is so concerned about it wheras I was least bothered about it during my stay over there.

Oops, did I just say that aloud? According to a fatwa issued by a Saudi Mufti, I and all other passengers were banned from traveling in/out of swine flu affected countries, in the first place!

Pictures/Cartoons: Saudi Gazette