Saudi Mecca clock
This picture taken on May 24, 2020 during the early hours of Eid Al Fitr shows an aerial view of Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca, with the Abraj Al Bait Mecca Royal Clock Tower overlooking the Grand Mosque and Kaaba in the centre. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Demolition of a slum area and removal of debris in the Saudi holy city of Mecca are set to begin on Saturday as part of a massive redevelopment scheme.

Demolition works in Al Kadwa district covers an area of 686,000 square metres, according to an official.

“Saturday will mark the kick-off for a phased demolition in Al Kadwa covering an area of 686,000 square metres,” Amjad Maghrabi, the spokesman for the project to redevelop slum areas in Mecca, added.

“The social aspect of Al Kadwa development project goes side by side with the urban approach,” he said in media remarks.

“The comprehensive strategy focuses on the humanitarian dimension based on three aspects, namely legal rectification for the targeted segments, social integration for residents and economic empowerment,” Maghrabi added.

Slum demolitions recently resumed in Jeddah, administratively part of the Mecca region, after they were put on hold during the past Islamic month of Ramadan that ended in early May.

Last February, authorities resumed a phased plan to develop a densely populated slum district in Mecca with the aim of eliminating visual disfigurement of the city known as the Holy Capital of the kingdom.

The removal of Al Nakasa, located around 1,500 metres from the Grand Mosque, was suspended for more than a year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.