Thousands of houses in Jeddah close to collapse

Municipality source tells paper of danger to residents in city centre

The downtown area of Balad is at the mercy of crumbling structures.
The downtown area of Balad is at the mercy of crumbling structures.

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Around 8,000 buildings are close to collapse in Jeddah, sources at the Municipality have told reporters.

The downtown area of Balad is at the mercy of crumbling structures, with 3,000 of these houses classed as ‘critical’, as the district is caught between modernisation and old legacy buildings, Arab News reports this morning.

Jeddah has been the focus of much redevelopment work and infrastructure projects in the last year as the Kingdom continues its wider domestic investment. It is almost two years since Jeddah Development and Urban Regeneration Company announced its Jeddah Strategic Plan, a 20-year prospectus for the city that included initiatives to reduce the number of slums, build more affordable housing and increase the density of the city.


But the treatment of the central district’s old building has been called into question following the fire to two historical buildings on Saturday night, which the unnamed source suggested could have been started deliberately. The Civil Defense said the wooden exterior of the buildings exacerbated the blaze.

Jeddah last month was wracked by floods for the second time in two years, leading to power cuts and overflowing sewers, spurring the public debate abouty the city's infrastructure in the coastal city.

The city is also working on a number of road projects to ease congestion in the centre. Last August the city opened a new bridge constructed in three levels, with an 800-metre long overpass on Hira street, a ground level junction, and an underpass on Prince Majed Road, one of 90 such projects either under construction or consideration.

The Saudi Industrial Property Authority last year spearheaded the construction of 1,200 housing units located in Jeddah Industrial City. The SAR 551 million development will accommodate 5,000 labours. Anan Iskan is the main contractor.

According to the sources, Saudi Electricity Company – the state backed power supplier – has told owners of about 6,000 buildings in Makkah that the electricity would be cut to force them to find safer homes.

They said 419 of the homes were currently being repaired, 11 had been demolished, and technical reports were being compiled for the maintenance of 530 others.

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