Saudi Arabia: Chaos as flash floods and hail leave 14 dead; many accidents reported; 937 rescued from homes & cars – 010513 1700z

Fourteen people have died and four are missing due to torrential rain, said the Saudi Civil Defense General Directorate.
From Monday night until midday Tuesday, Saudi authorities received more than 4,213 reports from across the kingdom of accidents resulting from torrential rainfall.
Classes have been suspended in affected areas of the country.
Civil Defense forces said they have saved more than 937 people trapped in their homes and cars, and have housed and helped more than 695 families.
There have been 307 reports of traffic accidents and people trapped in their cars, but no fatalities have been recorded in these incidents.
Wednesday, 01 May, 2013 at 11:33 (11:33 AM) UTC RSOE

Riyadh Floods


Flash floods in Saudi Arabia

(Video credit: kuya Bhagz)

News Reports

Flash floods in Saudi Arabia leave 13 dead

BBC

Floods in Saudi Arabia Saudi authorities have been criticised in the past for a lack of preparedness for floods

At least 13 people have died and four other are missing in flash floods in Saudi Arabia.

Deaths were reported in the capital Riyadh, Baha in the south, Hail in the north and in the west of the country

The Saudi Civil Defense Authority urged people to avoid valleys and plains that have been flooded by the heavy rainfall that began on Friday.

Saudi television showed footage of people clinging to trees and cars trapped by water.

The rain is said to be the heaviest experienced by the desert kingdom in more than 25 years.

Map

On Sunday the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef called on civil defence authorities to coordinate their efforts and provide assistance to people affected by rain and flooding. The minister was described by a spokesperson as “closely monitoring the situation”.

Saudi authorities have been criticised in the past for lack of preparedness in coping with flooding. Flash floods in the Red Sea port of Jeddah killed 123 people in 2009 and 10 in 2011.

The inability of Jeddah’s infrastructure to drain off flood waters and uncontrolled construction in and around the city were blamed for the high number of victims in 2009.

At the time King Abdullah promised action saying “we cannot overlook the errors and omissions that must be dealt with firmly”.

However critics have said that despite the promises little has been done to alleviate the dangers posed by flash floods.

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