Rain reveals weak infrastructure in rural areas


By Abdul Aziz Al-Rabeie

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

A recent tour by Okaz/Saudi Gazette to Bani Yazeed and surrounding villages in Al-Laith province revealed many pending projects, bad road conditions and the threat of rock slides blocking roads.

This scenario is repeated after each rainy season despite the many calls from residents to put an end to their suffering by installing and completing essential infrastructure.

Many of the roads, concrete barriers and culverts did not stand the force of the recent rain. The floods exposed the bad implementation and poor quality of many of the projects.

Some of these projects that cost millions of riyals failed on the first rainfall of the season. People called on the related authorities to interfere and find a permanent solution to their suffering.

People who live outside the village of Bani Yazeed quickly leave the area whenever there is a rain warning.

As for the residents of the village, they are stuck and forced to stay put. They remain cut off until help comes to clear the roads of falling rocks and repair them.

Saeed Al-Yazeedi, a resident of the village, said, “When it rains, the roads are blocked because of rockslides or floods bringing rocks and other objects from outer areas. The roads are badly constructed and those that survive the rains are poorly maintained. People cannot reach their work or school. Attempting to cross these roads during rain is a major risk that could cost lives. After the flooding when the roads are gone, people of the village double as Transport Ministry employees to install signs on the roads to warn drivers of the danger. At times, official departments are completely absent from the scene.”

Ali Al-Yazeedi complained about power outages and put the blame on the Saudi Electricity Company, which fails to deliver essential services to their villages. “They advertise that they are providing the best of services to residents in the villages but that is not true,” said Ali.

He added, “The quality of their services is very much visible after rain when we suffer from repeated power outages that could last for days. The recent rain in villages east of Al-Laith city revealed how poor was the state of many of the projects. Power lines were quick to fall, disconnecting power from many homes for more than three days.”

He asked whether other villages also suffer the same way they do or is it limited to those who live in villages between the mountains.

Ahmad Al-Fahmi, a resident, said his village suffered from bad phone connection, which is quickly disrupted after rain. “We cannot contact our families or reach people at work. We cannot contact police and the Civil Defense for help in the event of any emergency. Sometimes we have to walk long distance to reach an area of good coverage to make a call,” said Al-Fahmi.

Villagers complain of damaged roads, failing power supply