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Saudi Arabia secures thousands of wells following boy's death in Morocco

Saudi ministry announces filling in and fortification of 2,450 abandoned wells in wake of much-publicised well accident
Moroccans bury five-year-old Rayan Oram in the village of Ighrane in Morocco's rural northern province of Chefchaouen, on 7 February 2022 (AFP)

Saudi Arabia has fortified and filled thousands of wells in the kingdom following the death of a five-year-old after he fell down a well in Morocco, an accident that shocked many across the world.

Rayan Oram's death in Morocco's Chefchaouen region over the weekend, following a much-publicised rescue effort, provoked an outpouring of sympathy.

He was finally laid to rest on Monday in his village of Ighrane in Morocco's Rif mountains.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's environment, water and agriculture ministry said they had taken the decision to "fill in and fortify 2,450 abandoned wells".

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

Morocco bids farewell to Rayan, the boy who died trapped in a well
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The ministry also called on residents to report any unsafe or uncovered wells, saying their reports would "protect you and others".

Rayan spent five days trapped after falling down a narrow, 32-metre 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.

Hundreds of mourners on Monday gathered for his funeral following noon prayers in Ighrane.

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

The hashtag #SaveRayan had captivated the world and was trending on social media after the boy fell into the well as the vast rescue operation was streaming live. Users left messages of solidarity and sympathy as rescue teams worked around the clock to save him. 

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Moroccan football player Abderrazak Hamdallah offered to buy Rayan's family a furnished house.

The striker then called upon other athletes, actors and celebrities to follow his example and assist Rayan’s family.