Saudi Arabia fills ‘exposed wells’ after Moroccan boy’s death

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Moroccan authorities and firefighters work to rescue five-year-old boy Rayan, who is trapped in a deep well for over two days, near Bab Berred in Morocco's rural northern province of Chefchaouen on February 3, 2022. - Moroccans waited anxiously as authorities said a dramatic operation to rescue a young boy trapped in a deep well for more than 40 hours was nearing its end. (Photo by - / AFP)
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  • On Monday, hundreds stood to mourn in a cemetery in the remote forested hills of the Chefchaouen region of Morocco, a few kilometers from the site of the accident
  • Saudi Arabia's ministry of environment, water and agriculture said on Sunday: "To ensure everyone's safety... the ministry was able to fill in and fortify 2,450 abandoned wells

Saudi Arabia has said it filled and fortified thousands of abandoned wells across the country, after the tragic death of a boy in Morocco following failed rescue efforts.

Five-year-old Rayan, who spent five days trapped down a well, was laid to rest on Monday in his village of Ighrane in Morocco’s Rif mountains.

Following last week’s tragic incident, Saudi Arabia’s ministry of environment, water and agriculture said on Sunday: “To ensure everyone’s safety… the ministry was able to fill in and fortify 2,450 abandoned wells.

“It continues to work to fill in the rest of the exposed wells,” it said.

The ministry also called on residents to report any unsafe or uncovered wells, saying: “Your reports will protect you and others.”

Rayan fell down a narrow, 32-metre (100-foot) dry well last Tuesday, sparking a complex earth-moving operation to try to extract him without triggering a landslide.

But the rescue operation ended in tragedy on Saturday, with Morocco’s royal palace announcing his death.

On Monday, hundreds stood to mourn in a cemetery in the remote forested hills of the Chefchaouen region of Morocco, a few kilometers from the site of the accident.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called the parents to voice his condolences.

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