Friday, December 29, 2006

Snow fiasco

The last snow storm hit the south of the country hard. Over 1400 people had to be rescued after being stranded in the roads of the region. The government was caught unprepared, and it took more time than observers thought was needed to get the situation under control. Helicopters were used to rescue stranded people. Many stranded people had to call the popular radio show by Mohammad al Wakeel, prompting Emad Hajjaj to publish a hilarious cartoon depicting a family stranded in the snow, calling Wakeel and praising officials for the great job they are doing (mentioning that they have been stranded for ten hours and giving their location).


Samih Ma’aitah wrote an article on the subject, claiming that the government always makes grand proclamations about its contingency plans, which are not implemented when a real emergency strikes. This is probably not fair, as the south is a very large area which is lightly populated. I can imagine that the issue was a logistical nightmare, although roads could have been closed before hand to prevent people getting stranded in the first place.

The minister of interior came off badly, scolding TV reporters for using the word “surrounded” in describing the situation of stranded people. He also was unhappy that the king would have to be bothered with this routine situation. I doubt that the king will be happy about the implication.


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