North African sandstorm ‘Madar’ disrupts life in Saudi Arabia

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A dust storm sweeping across Saudi Arabia hit Jeddah early Sunday. (AN photo by Ghazi Mahdi)
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A dust storm sweeping across Saudi Arabia hit Jeddah early Sunday. (AN photo by Arkan Al-Adnani))
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At sundown, the sandstorm in Jeddah and nearby places have yet to abate. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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A dust storm sweeping across Saudi Arabia hit Jeddah early Sunday. (AN photo by Ghazi Mahdi)
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A dust storm sweeping across Saudi Arabia hit Jeddah early Sunday. (AN photo by Ghazi Mahdi)
Updated 20 March 2017
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North African sandstorm ‘Madar’ disrupts life in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Sandstorm “Madar” is expected to continue disrupting traffic and daily routines in many areas in the Kingdom on Monday, with visibility expected to drop below 2 km in several areas, according to the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME).
Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are predicted in Asir, Jazan and Najran while the wind speeds are expected to hit 55km.
Weather changes have caused flight delays and cancelations and school closures.
The dusty weather in Jeddah and other areas in the Kingdom is caused by a sandstorm that hit the Libyan desert in the past few days, and then passed through Egypt.
“We are in a transitional phase when changes in weather are expected,” Hussein Al-Qahtani, a spokesman for the PME, told Arab News.
The move from winter to spring is expected to bring rapid weather changes, strong winds and fluctuations in temperatures in the coming days, he added.
The PME issued a red color-coded warning “of severe meteorological phenomena” on Sunday due to the Madar sandstorm in some regions, including Madinah, Makkah and Riyadh. The visibility in these regions along with Al-Jouf, Tabuk, the Eastern Province and the Northern Border is expected to drop below 2 km.
“Jeddah’s case is the lowest on the scale of climate severity,” Al-Qahtani said. Yet some schools sent students home due to fears the weather conditions would worsen. Such conditions can be particularly risky for those suffering from respiratory allergies and asthma.
Dr. Hanan Fan, consultant pulmonologist at a public hospital in Jeddah, told Arab News that students with respiratory problems should take precautions if they go to school on a dusty day.
Fan advised people with asthma to stay home in such weather, keeping their windows closed. They also need to use preventer inhalers when necessary. If any dyspnea or persistent coughing occurs, a visit to an emergency unit is advised.
“In case of leaving home, you have to use the preventer inhaler 10 minutes earlier to avoid your condition (worsening) and turn into an asthma attack,” Fan said. “And, of course, don’t forget to cover your nose and mouth to stay on the safe side.”


KSA’s Madinah to host 4-day international conference on ‘humanizing cities’

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman
Updated 24 April 2018
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KSA’s Madinah to host 4-day international conference on ‘humanizing cities’

  • The conference will review global trends in the areas of “humanization of cities” and “living cities
  • The event is being organized by the Development Authority of Madinah

JEDDAH: The First International Conference on Humanizing Cities will take place from May 7 to 10 at Taibah University in Madinah.

The event is being organized by the Development Authority of Madinah, under the patronage of Prince Faisal bin Salman, governor of Madinah region and chairman of the Development Authority of Madinah.

The conference will review global trends in the areas of “humanization of cities” and “living cities,” looking at modern ways to develop public places, city centers and neighborhoods to improve urban spaces and the quality of urban life, so that cities are more friendly and comfortable places to live.

There will be discussions of the best ways to develop cities, and of the most suitable local and international mechanisms for doing so to most benefit residents. Ways to encourage various sectors and communities to get involved in the initiatives and humanization projects will also be examined.

There will be 20 panel discussions, including presentations, case studies and open debates on the humanization of cities. The participants will include 20 international experts in the planning and development of cities, public areas and open spaces, and 27 distinguished local experts in architecture, design, planning and urban development. The speakers come from 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Greece, Singapore, Indonesia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt and Jordan.

A number of experts and academics will take part, including: Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, a professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Charles Landry, a British planner known for his studies on creative cities; Joel Kotkin; Michael Mahaffey; Khoo Teng Chye, director of the Center for Liveable Cities in Singapore; Michael Sorkin, a professor at Columbia University in New York; Fred Kent, the founder and president of the Public Spaces Project; and Herbert Dreiseitl, director of The Liveable Cities Lab.

The conference will also feature senior officials from the Kingdom and other Gulf countries, and Saudi mayors. Directors of regional and international organizations working in the field will also take part and visit the Development Authority of Madinah to discuss the current state and future of moves to humanize cities.

Speakers will discuss a number of key themes, including the principles and practices of achieving human cities, a review of how best to manage them, and the role of local authorities, highlighting planning and design, and the part played by public areas and open spaces.

Other aspects covered by the conference include the financing and the transformation of cities to make them more suitable for all residents. The integration of environmental sustainability with humanization programs will also be discussed, as will the role of culture and education.

The conference will also present and discuss the experiences gained through the projects and initiatives that are part of the Humanization Madinah project carried out by Madinah Development Authority, which aims to make Madinah an example for the development of modern cities.

The conference is targeted at specialists in ministries and other government agencies and bodies, leaders of local administrations, and employees of non-profit organizations, private-sector institutions, universities and specialized research centers, along with other researchers and individuals interested in the field.