Saudi plans Jeddah projects after floods, protests

Wed Feb 2, 2011 10:40am GMT

* Saudi Arabia vows to improve infrastructure

* Deadly floods triggered rare protests

By Asma Alsharif

JEDDAH, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia vowed to improve infrastructure in the second-largest city Jeddah after floods swept through the major port and killed 10 people, triggering rare protests among residents complaining of neglect.

Last Friday, authorities detained dozens of residents protesting against poor infrastructure in a country that has billions to spend on infrastructure as the world's largest oil exporter.

According to official figures, floods damaged more than 90 percent of Jeddah's roads and some 27,000 buildings last week, adding to woes of residents who have long complained about the lack of sewage in a city of four million.

King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, who is recuperating in Morocco after undergoing medical treatment in New York, set up a committee to hire foreign firms to improve the infrastructure to avoid future floods, state news agency SPA said late on Tuesday.

The kingdom has no elected parliament and does not tolerate public protests.   Continued...

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