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Over 100 Amman shops claim damage after recent flooding

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jan 11,2020 - Last updated at Jan 11,2020

Shops in lower parts of Downtown Amman bear the brunt of recent heavy rainfall (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Over 100 shops and warehouses in Downtown Amman and four at the Seventh Circle were damaged during the heavy rainfall on Wednesday, an Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) survey showed.

"Currently, the value of damage in both areas [Downtown and the Seventh Circle] is being assessed, and it will take a few days to announce," ACC Chairman Khalil Haj Tawfiq told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday.

Tawfiq noted that the chamber has urged the government to form a committee to investigate the matter. 

"If the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) does not fulfil its responsibilities properly, the chamber will demand reimbursement for the traders," Tawfiq said.

If the investigation shows that rainfall exceeded municipality capacities and they disagree with the committee’s report, traders will still have the option to individually seek the judiciary for a settlement, he said. 

Traders in Downtown Amman’s Quraysh Street reported a significant rise in water levels during the heavy rainfall on Wednesday, while videos circulated on social media platforms showed shops flooded and damaged, especially in lower areas near Al Husseini Mosque.

In March of 2019, heavy rain flooded downtown Amman and caused “extensive damage”, prompting people to vent their frustrations over the country’s “poor” infrastructure.

In mid-August of 2019, GAM and the ACC pledged to reimburse the traders with a total of JD3 million; JD2 million of which would be supplied by GAM, and the remaining amount by the ACC. The reimbursements were distributed in several batches during the rest of the year.

At the end of August, GAM said that it had spent the summer clearing discarded plastic bags that clogged storm drains, according to a GAM statement. 

Municipality cadres had also cleaned the main culvert in downtown Amman’s Saqf Al Sail area from the end of Quraysh Street to the exit in the Mahatta area, removing silt from wadi streams, while also working to construct concrete retaining walls, the statement said. 

GAM also completed several tunnel and box culvert projects at different locations in Amman to resolve issues witnessed during previous winter seasons, according to the statement. 

During that period, cadres also inspected the readiness of the water pumps of rainwater tanks installed inside tunnels to make sure water is pumped out properly. 

GAM affirmed that follow-ups on these cleaning drives and checks are performed throughout the year in accordance with a programme for this purpose, the statement concluded.

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