Jeddah warns owners over derelict buildings

Dangerous buildings in the city need to be repaired or torn down

Jeddah says its derelict buildings are dangerous. Photo: Getty.
Jeddah says its derelict buildings are dangerous. Photo: Getty.

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Jeddah city officials have issued warnings to the owners of 348 dangerous buildings that they may be forced to tear down or repair their properties.

The municipality has also urged occupants to vacate the buildings immediate over fears that the structures could fail at any point, injuring or even killing some residents.

Khalid Zaini, co coordinator for the committee overseeing uninhabitable buildings, told Saudi newspaper Arab News that notifications had been sent to building surveyors to ascertain whether the 348 buildings should be demolished or repaired.

“Many of these buildings have been built illegally using mud, wood and other material that should not have been used for building. This has then led to homes becoming unsafe,” he added.

He said that the majority of the derelict buildings were located in the western and eastern Baghdadiyah districts of the city.

“Previous incidents in which buildings collapsed were due to them not being built with proper building material, or due to poor maintenance, or old age,” he told the paper.

Last month, the Jeddah Municipality asked the Saudi Electric Company to cut off supply to 6,000 buildings that were designated unsafe and uninhabitable. The move followed the collapse of two buildings in the city last month. Six Somali children died in the when the roof of their building in the Al-Sahifah District near Bab Makkah caved in, and two Somalian women were killed and several others were injured when a four-storey building in Jeddah’s Al-Baghdadiah District collapsed.

Jeddah is in desperate need for low-cost housing developments, and earlier this month detailed a comprehensive redevelopment program to tackle the city's slums.

The scheme – spearheaded by the government-backed Jeddah Development and Urban Regeneration Company (JDURC) – will see hundreds of thousands of residents of the city’s so-called 54 ‘unplanned settlements’ relocated while buildings are torn down. The first areas to be  redeveloped will be  Khozan and Al Ruwais, both close to Jeddah’s historical district and home to some 200,000 people.

Many of Jeddah’s unplanned settlements have been classified slums by the United Nations (UN), and were the areas most badly effected by last year’s floods, which killed hundreds of people.


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