x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Thirteen killed and four missing in Saudi flash floods

Thirteen people have died and four more are missing in Saudi Arabia after downpours caused flash floods in several areas of the country, civil defence says.

RIYADH // Thirteen people have died and four more are missing in Saudi Arabia after downpours caused flash floods in several areas of the country, civil defence said yesterday.

Two others died in floods in Oman as cloudbursts swept across most Arabian Gulf countries in freak weather.

Col Abdullah Al Harethi, a spokesman for the civil defence, said people died in several areas including in the capital Riyadh, Baha in the south, Hail in the north and in the west.

Col Al Harethi urged people to avoid wadi valleys and plains that have been flooded by heavy rainfall that began on Friday.

Television footage showed 4X4 cars stuck in the middle of wadis and people clinging to a tree to escape fast-flowing flood waters.

The kingdom has not experienced such a high volume of rainfall for 25 years.

But about 10 people were killed in 2011 when flooding swept through the western city of Jeddah, where 123 people also died in floods in 2009.

The inability of Jeddah's infrastructure to drain flood waters and uncontrolled construction in and around the city, were blamed at the time for the high number of victims.

In Oman, at least two people have drowned in flash flooding.