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At least 18 dead, 4 missing in Saudi floods

At least 18 people have died and four are missing in Saudi Arabia after nearly a week of heavy rain that has triggered flash floods in the desert kingdom, the civil defense authorities said on Thursday.

People have drowned in several areas of the country, according to a statement quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The body of a man was recovered on Thursday in the Kowaiyia district.

Another body was found in the city of al-Baha, and transferred to King Fahd Hospital despite rising water levels.

Rescue teams evacuated six villages in the south-western Bisha province, after a sand dam at the valley of Tabala partially collapsed.

Authorities have been urging people to avoid valleys and plains flooded by heavy rainfall, which has continued since last Friday.

At least 250 rescue officers have been deployed, along with 15 divers, at the al-Aqiq dam.

The heavy rains have almost filled the dam, with around 20 centimeters left before it overflows.

Saudi Arabia has not experienced such a high volume of rainfall for 25 years.

Ten people were killed in 2011 when flooding swept through the western city of Jeddah, where 123 people also perished in floods in 2009.

The inability of Jeddah’s infrastructure to drain off flood waters, as well as uncontrolled construction in and around the city, were blamed at the time for the high number of victims.
Posted by Addisu Wondwosen

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