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Saudi Gazette, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Kingdom

Local Viewpoints are translated from the Arabic press to bring current mainstream opinions published in Saudi

media to a worldwide audience. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily

reflect the views and opinions of Saudi Gazette or of its team.

What we expect from

the Civil Defense

The Civil Defense officers

deserve special thanks and

appreciation for doing their

duty in saving the lives of

four people.They have car-

ried out their mission with

great difficulty. But their

refusal to wait and save the

other individuals has caused

deep disappointment.

The second tragedy

started with the departure of

the helicopter squad without

taking Fawaz and Rami, who

were exhausted as a result of

thirst and hunger. Moreover,

darkness had befallen on

them.Their families and rela-

tives had informed the Civil

Defense about the missing

young men.

The Civil Defense team

withdrew from the mountain

saying it was difficult for

them to search for the miss-

ing individuals in the dark-

ness and that they do not fly

after 5 p.m.

Fawaz, 18, and his

nephew Rami, 17, remained

trapped on the dangerous

mountain. Hearing the news

we felt deep sorrow as we

could imagine their difficult

condition. I wish the Civil

Defense officers had felt this

pain and intervened quickly

to save the two lives.

It was sheer negligence

on the part of Civil Defense

officers.They do not have any

excuse for this negligence.

How can they leave two

young men to languish on a

rugged mountain terrain in

extreme conditions without

food and water.

The two would have

died of fear about poisonous

snakes that are aplenty on

that mountain.The slippery

mountain slopes were also

A

GROUP of

three young

Saudis went on

an expedition

to the peak of

Efaf mountains in the Bani

Hilal region, west of Adham

governorate.They got into a

car and drove through a dirt

road constructed by a Saudi

individual on rugged terrain.

Torrential floods had

damaged the road and the

municipalities of Al-Laith

and Adham had not taken

any action to repair the road.

The three young men — my

son Mohammed, his cousin

Nawaf and their friend Saud

— were on their way to the

top of Efaf.

They got out of the car

and started climbing the

mountain. Saud became

tired as a result of the dif-

ficult trek in extreme hot

weather and there was no

water to drink. Moreover,

Saud had donated one of his

kidneys to his father only a

few months ago.

The trio were held up

on top of the mountain and

were unable to return to

their car.They called the

Civil Defense to save them.

Mohammed remained

with Saud while Nawaf went

out looking for help and

found it difficult to cross the

rugged slopes.

The Civil Defense re-

sponded quickly by sending

a car and a Black Hawk heli-

copter.The Black Hawk had

been combing the area from

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the crew

could not locate the three

men despite having continu-

ous contacts with the young

men trapped on the rugged

mountain.

This dangerous situa-

tion gave me a feeling that

we are still live in the stone

age without having the

technology to track down

and save people in danger.

What would have been the

situation if one of the miss-

ing persons was injured and

bleeding or bitten by an Efaf

snake?

In the meantime, four

young volunteers from the

village of Kefu, which is lo-

cated at the bottom of the

mountain, came for help.

They were Ahmad, Hassan,

Fawaz and Rami. Ahmad

and Hassan reached near

Muhammad and Saud before

the helicopter, which left the

place after taking Moham-

med and Saud on board.

They also took Ahmed and

Hassan with them.

Ahmed had requested

Civil Defense officers to wait

in order to airlift the other

two volunteers who were

still languishing under the

hot son. Unfortunately, the

Civil Defense men did not

heed his request.They took

Mohammed and his friend

Saud as well as the two vol-

unteers, Ahmed and Hassan,

to hospital.

dangerous. But these terrible

conditions did not prompt

the Civil Defense officers

to show some mercy to the

trapped young men.

They were not bothered

about the horrendous situ-

ation the two young Saudis

were in.This prompted a

group of volunteers to search

for the missing individuals

using primitive tools.The

volunteers found the two

individuals at 1 a.m. in a pa-

thetic condition due to thirst,

fear and exhaustion.

The Civil Defense rescue

teams were not in sight and

the two young men remained

with the volunteers until

noon.The Civil Defense

spokesman was giving con-

tradictory accounts on the

number of lives they saved

during the operation. His

figures varied between seven,

five and three.

Actually the Civil De-

fense saved only two men

using the helicopter: My son

Mohammed and his friend

Saud. Nawaf saved himself

and arrived on the road and

got water to drink before the

squad found him. It would

have been better if the Civil

Defense officers had not

airlifted volunteers Ahmed

and Hassan and left them to

protect their younger broth-

ers from hardship.

The Civil Defense has

been exerting tremendous

efforts to save people in

danger.They have made im-

mense contributions in this

respect. Many of them have

lost their lives and became

martyrs while saving lives

of people in distress.Their

courage and heroism are well

known and nobody can un-

derrate their work.

The talk about this

Civil Defense group does not

mean we ignore the achieve-

ments of this important

organization.This incident

takes us to ask a number of

questions. First, where are

the capabilities which the

department often boasts

of?Where are the modern

equipment and devices that

are used to search for people

in the darkness of night?

What prevented other Civil

Defense helicopters from

joining the rescue operation

and where was the desire to

carry out the rescue in a re-

cord time?

Above all, where is the

feeling of humanity? How

could the Civil Defense of-

ficers sleep while the two

young Saudi men faced

certain death on the Efaf

mountains? Only because of

Allah’s mercy and the efforts

of the volunteers, the two

young men are still

alive.We

expect a convincing reply

from senior officials of the

Civil Defense Department

and we hope the reply would

be convincing and up to our

expectations about this im-

portant department.

It was sheer negligence on

the part of Civil Defense

officers. They do not have any

excuse for this negligence.

How can they leave two young

men to languish on a rugged

mountain terrain in extreme

conditions without food and

water.

By Ahmed Al-Hilali

Makkah newspaper

Patients upset over lack of

women dentists in Khulais

By Abdulaziz Al-Rubaie

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH —

Women patients in

Khulais, a town 90 km north of

Jeddah, complained about the

lack of a female dentist.

Mishal Al-Subhi has said

the women of the town do not

feel comfortable visiting a male

dentist at the local health care

center.

“Families will have to drive

for 40 km to Ghiran, the near-

est town where the services of a

female dentist is available. The

other option they have is to visit

private clinics, which can be

extremely expensive. The issue

has been going on for 10 years

with no solution in sight,” said

Al-Subhi.

He said most of the patients

of the health center are women

and many of them are from lim-

ited income families.

“They barely have enough

money to cover their basic

health needs, let alone the

money to pay for dental work.

The cost of a dental checkup

can reach SR300 in a private

clinic. The dental clinics in the

town needs to be developed and

staffed,” said Al-Subhi.

He said a dentist was hired

at the beginning of this year

and the people of Khulais were

thrilled but she was transferred

to Al-Biraikah Health Center,

which is situated 50 km away,

shortly afterward.

“I tried contacting the Health

Directorate and they informed

me that all of the 80 public

health centers in the governorate

have a shortage in dentists. They

told me they didn’t hire any den-

tists during the past two years,”

said Al-Subhi.

The primary health center in Khulais, a town 90 km north of Jeddah.

Lisbon hosting three-day exhibition on Saudi culture and heritage

RIYADH —

The Portuguese capital Lisbon

is hosting an exhibition titled the “King-

dom of Saudi Arabia ... Heritage and

Culture” organized by King Abdul Aziz

Historical Center from July 18 to 20.

The General Authority for Culture

will offer a variety of artistic and cultural

activities, including cinematic perfor-

mances and discussions held in the pres-

ence of artists and directors.

In addition, there will be an Arabic

calligraphy pavilion where a number of

Saudi calligraphers will present classes

for visitors to the exhibition and also an

Arab hospitality pavilion, which will re-

flect the Arabian hospitality model in the

Kingdom.

On the other hand, a Saudi folklore

band will present a variety of the King-

dom’s musical heritage.

The participation of the General Au-

thority for Culture in the event comes as

part of its efforts in enhancing the pres-

ence of Saudi Arabia abroad.

— SG

The exhibition will have pavilions for Arab hospitality and calligraphy, among others.