By Muhammad Al-Maliki
JEDDAH – Residents of south Jeddah have appealed to the authorities to help them tackle a rat infestation in their neighborhoods. Many complain that the rats carry infectious diseases and are causing irreparable damage to sewage pipes and electrical wiring.
They say that the rats have invaded virtually every corner of their districts. The rodents can often be seen jumping around during broad daylight.
They complain that the Jeddah mayoralty has allegedly done nothing to rid them of the vermin, despite repeated requests for two years.
There was a proliferation of the rodents in their neighborhoods shortly after the flood disaster in Jeddah in November 2009, residents say.
Mubarak Al-Selami, a resident, said the situation reminds him of the collapse of the ancient Marib dam in Yemen. He claims this was because of the “claws and sharp teeth of rats”.
“I am afraid that something similar is happening in our district. Believe it or not, there are now many more rats than people in the district. It has become a rat colony.”
He claimed that the officials at the Jama District municipality do not care about the welfare of residents. “I have lived in the district for decades and have never seen so-called health environmental teams more than once spraying insecticide in certain areas,” Al-Selami said.
“The rats eat through the electricity cables so we are often plunged into darkness for several hours every two to three days. We can’t ignore this and remain silent.” He said it was high time for the officials at the Jeddah Mayoralty to find a solution to the problem.
Dakhilallah Al-Surahi, another resident, said the rats often come up through the toilet. “Not only this, they have also reached the foundation of our houses. Regrettably, no one from the municipality and mayoralty has come to help.
After many calls they send a team of cleaners who place rat traps in some alleyways and near garbage containers. When they collect the traps early in the morning, they often find between 50 and 60 rats. Believe it or not, the cats fear the rats because they are so big.”
Abdullah Al-Maliki, a resident, said: “Everyone in the district keeps their windows closed to prevent the rats from coming into their houses. So there is little fresh air. This explains why most of the residents in the district, especially the children, suffer from chest diseases and allergies.”
Awad Al-Qahtani, Director General of the Administration of Preventive Health at Jeddah Mayoralty, said his administration has made every effort to combat rodents in all Jeddah’s districts, especially in unplanned areas.
He said the Jama districts, which includes Bani Malik, Al-Kandara, Al-Yemen District and eastern Jeddah are among those which are the most affected by rodents. He said the teams start their work after midnight when the animals are very active. They use traps baited with poison.
He said the administration has five teams, consisting of 20 cleaners each, which are tasked with tackling the rodents.
He said the teams have had success, but added that residents must cooperate by not dumping leftover food outside because this attracts the rats.