Neighbours file lawsuit over Amman flooding deaths

Jordan Times

Neighbours file lawsuit over Amman flooding deaths

Oct 09, 2009 | 00:00 Updated: Feb 14, 2012 | 12:06

By Thameen Kheetan

AMMAN – Residents of an Amman apartment building filed on Thursday a lawsuit against those responsible for flooding that killed an Egyptian worker and two of his sons earlier this week.

During heavy showers on Tuesday, rainwater accumulated in an empty plot being used for a pipeline project adjacent to the five-storey building, near the Seventh Circle in west Amman.

Due to lack of drainage, the water flowed directly into the building’s parking lot, damaging an outer wall and flooding the basement, where 35-year-old Egyptian guard, Mohammad Imam lived with his wife and three children.

Fighting the floods, Mohammad Imam died trying to save two sons, aged five and one, according to eyewitnesses. Imam’s wife and surviving son were out at the time of the incident. Shortly upon returning, Imam’s wife suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised.

In the lawsuit, the residents did not name a specific party responsible for the flooding, leaving the issue to police investigations.

Some neighbours, however, have accused Al Fares Contracting Company, which is responsible for the nearby water pipeline project.

“The contractor should be held accountable for this negligence,” Mohammad Abdul Monem, an Egyptian worker at a nearby building told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Al Fares Contracting Company denied responsibility, but agreed to reimburse affected residents for accommodation while their building is being renovated.

“Our work is well done, we did not block any water channels,” the company’s lawyer, Rateb Tarawneh, told The Jordan Times, adding that the wall which collapsed under the rainwater was “not well-built”.

The company paid residents of two apartments on the ground floor JD700 each for one month’s accommodations, while residents of the other eight apartments received JD230 each for 10 days, Tarawneh said, noting that the company will also pay for repairs.

“All of this is to help residents. The judiciary has not yet decided who is responsible for the accident,” the lawyer remarked, stressing that the company “will accept any ruling”.

The South Amman Court of First Instance will look into the case on Sunday, he added.

Resident Nasser Abdul Hadi said he and his neighbours do not hold a specific party responsible for the tragedy.

“We neither know who is responsible for the incident, nor who should be held accountable,” he told The Jordan Times in a phone interview yesterday, stressing that he is waiting for concerned authorities to decide.

The dead bodies, along with the worker’s wife and third son were repatriated to Egypt yesterday by their country’s embassy in Amman.

Imam had been working in Jordan for 14 years, spending half of them at the building where he drowned, according to friends and nearby residents.

“He was a nice guy… we were friends. We used to spend time together, eating and having fun,” said Hamza Al Saadi, an Iraqi national residing in the building.

“Whoever caused their deaths should be held accountable… life is priceless,” the 22-year-old remarked.

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