Camels on Eastern Province roads pose danger to motorists

Updated 23 February 2015
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Camels on Eastern Province roads pose danger to motorists

Camels have become a major concern for highway drivers in the Eastern Province due to the growing number of injuries and deaths from camel-related traffic accidents annually.
Residents in the area are calling for urgent and immediate intervention from the Ministry of Transport to find solutions to reduce traffic risks caused by camels roaming and crossing major roads.
A recent report issued by the Department of Public Relations and Media and King Fahd Hospital in Hofuf indicates that the hospital receives about 40 fatal cases per month resulting from highway accidents, with the number increasing substantially during holiday, Haj and Umrah seasons.
“The continuously alarming number of accidents caused annually by camels roaming on major roadways indicates that no effective solutions have yet been undertaken to cope with this frightening issue,” said Ahmed bin Hamad Albuali, vice president of the municipal council in Al-Ahsa. “Authorities tend to intervene on a periodic basis and fail to present any sustainable and long-term solutions.”
He urged authorities to consider a study presented by Mohammed Al-Zahrani from King Faisal University, which suggests the development and use of GPS technology to identify threats and risks.
The use of this technology, which emits a warning sound to drivers when they are near camels on the roadways, was tested and proven to be successful. The GPS devices can also provide information to authorities about the location of these camels via SMS in order for them to deal with the issue, he added.
“Efforts must be undertaken to complete Al-Oqair Highway so that traffic gets equal space in both directions, removal of roadside sand during the summer period, and installation of road lights between Al-Ahsa and Qatar and Riyadh,” he said. “Camel owners should also be used to place reflective and luminous belts on camels to signal their location to drivers.”
Al-Zahrani’s study also recommends the development of mobile devices that improve communication between police departments and the General Directorate of Traffic in areas with high incidences of camel-related accidents.
Meanwhile, a number of citizens in the Eastern Province demanded from authorities to find solutions to counter the threat of roaming camels.
“Although these roads cannot be avoided as they connect the region with all others regions in the Kingdom and neighboring Gulf countries, there is still much work to be done to improve the quality of these roads and address traffic threats,” said Abdul Latif Al-Rabie, a citizen.
Another citizen, Talal Al-Thowab, said: “We do not know how long this fear and concern about the danger of these roads will last, especially as the lost lives of many innocent people could have been avoided. These roads lack many basic safety and security measures such as lighting.”
Citizens also called on the Ministry of Transport to study means of installing an iron fence and crossings along the major roads as preventative and protective measures.


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 27 June 2019
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First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.