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Saudi Arabia

Officials see surge in numbers of beggars

The Jeddah municipality had worked in recent months to sweep beggars off the streets, but new groups of panhandlers have returned.
The most familiar places for their actions are by traffic lights, where drivers can see children of expats standing and waiting for the chance of time to use cloths and cleaning materials to clean the windscreen of cars, or just tapping on the windows asking for money.
Another class of beggars includes people with disabilities and children selling simple and small commodities, mostly candies, to lure drivers commuting with their children.
One child beggar at a traffic light told a reporter: “I am 10 years old and I sell chewing gum, but mostly I go from one place to another so that I would not be caught and deported by secret inspection patrols.”
The boy said he was not doing anything wrong, but making a daily living in all weather conditions.
Majed, another boy, said that he earns as much as SR 70 a day as a car windshield cleaner.
“I clean windows with soap and water without the driver asking for this. Some drivers give me one riyal, others more, while some others don’t give me anything even after I clean their cars,” he said.
Some beggar women are seen holding young children on their shoulders, and shifting from one place to another.
Dr. Mohammad Mussad, endocrinology and diabetes consultant, warned of the hazards of eating the food stuff sold on the streets without appropriate storage conditions.


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