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Three dead as rains lash Saudi Arabia
November 17, 2013, 2:31 pm

The heavy rains that have been lashing the Saudi capital have claimed at least three lives, according to civil defence officials in Riyadh on Sunday.

Two men and one woman died in the floods caused by the rains on Saturday, a civil defence official was quoted as saying in Saudi news site Sabq, adding that the search was ongoing for those reported missing.

“There were 5,015 reports of incidents out of which 4,968 were in Riyadh, and 47 in the provinces,” said the spokesperson for the civil defence, Captain Mohammad Al Hammadi.

“98 trapped people were rescued,” he said, adding that three people were reported missing in Riyadh.

Civil defence teams had recovered 148 waters that had been submerged in water, out of which 101 were in Riyadh. 

The rain reportedly caused damage to public and private property. The damage became apparent on Saturday as the bad weather eased.

Schools in Riyadh and some of its suburbs were closed on Sunday as the authorities worked on reopening roads shut down due to heavy rains.

The education ministry said that it decided to shut down the schools “due to the weather conditions and to the expected rains,” the official news agency (SPA) reported.

Road traffic came to a standstill in many of the capital’s roads and particularly underpasses where high levels of rain were recorded, local news site Sabq reported.

The authorities sought to reassure motorists, issuing statements that they were working to reopen all the roads for traffic.

However, Hassan Al Hassan, the spokesperson for Riyadh traffic, urged motorists not to venture out and wait until roads and tunnels are cleared. No major accident was reported.

Police shut down the southern exit on Algiers Square in Riyadh after to the road caved in due to water logging.

Al Hassan said that rocks were reported to have fallen close to the capital’s iconic Suspended Bridge.

Pictures and videos on news sites, social networks and mobile messaging services showed tunnels logged with water and vehicles almost entirely submerged in them.

Movement is often crippled in Saudi cities when seasonal rains hit. Authorities have faced severe public criticism for the cities’ infrastrure that has been unable to handle the rain. The Red Sea city of Jeddah has been particularly been affected by bad weather in the past.

Courtesy:  Gulf News


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