Nov 07,2015
Thursday’s heavy downpour in most parts of the country wreaked havoc on normal life, bringing it to a standstill in some areas.

Worse, it took the life of four people, two of them children.

The damage was quite extensive. Many downtown shops were flooded, as were many building basements.

Around 1,000 vehicles broke down on the capital’s roads and many were involved in accidents or were smashed up by other vehicles or debris carried by the water.

The drainage system in many streets of Amman was simply unable to cope with the sudden flash floods brought about by less than an hour of outpour against which man was helpless.

Citizens rushed to blame the authorities, the Greater Amman Municipality in particular, for being caught off guard.

In all fairness, while more precautionary measures might have been taken by authorities, the unusual amount of rain that fell on the country placed great strain on the infrastructure, which was unable to cope.

Also to be fair, do citizens ever blame themselves when they throw garbage from their speeding cars, when they leave trash bags by the trash containers, not in, when they prune their trees and leave branches in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and leaving it for the rain to wash away or for municipality workers to clean up after them?

The municipality is guilty of one important thing, however: allowing construction sites to spread their material on pavements and streets unimpeded.

There was a time when severe sanctions were meted out for such contravention. Not anymore.

Mounds of sand, piles of bricks, pebbles and cement often take half of a road; concrete is made on the street, and nobody is penalised.

Come rain, all this material is washed in the already low-capacity manholes. The result we all witness every time it rains.

That said, even if they happen once in a decade, unusual weather conditions have to be taken into consideration when building the infrastructure.

We cannot continue to say that rain caught us unawares, and that tunnels and streets are flooded because the drainage system does not function properly.

Authorities learned a lesson or two from past experiences, one hopes.

The winter season has just started. We cannot be caught off guard anymore.

If the pattern continues, more rain is going to come our way.

Authorities should hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
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