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Flooding in Saudi Arabia kills 10

By Katy Byron, CNN
Vehicles are piled up following heavy rains and floods in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia on January 27, 2011.
Vehicles are piled up following heavy rains and floods in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia on January 27, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thousands of people have been rescued
  • Torrential rains began this week
  • In November of 2009, nearly 100 people died from flooding in western Saudi Arabia
RELATED TOPICS
  • Jeddah
  • Saudi Arabia

(CNN) -- Torrential flooding this week in the western Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah continues to disrupt life in the region as schools were set to close on Saturday, according to the nation's state news.

Rescue operations were ongoing and at least 10 people died related to the flooding, with three missing in Jeddah, said Director General of Civil Defense, General Saad bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri, according to state news Saudi Press Agency Friday.

Ground teams rescued 1,451 people, helicopters rescued 498 residents, and more than 1,500 families were provided temporary shelter, according to Al-Tuwaijri.

Jeddah province received 111 mm (4 inches) of rain in three hours on Wednesday, according to the King Abdulaziz University's Meteorology Department.

After taking a tour of flood-ravaged areas of Jeddah on Thursday, the Governor of Makkah Region, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal told reporters that damage was attributed to the lack of a drainage system for flooding and rain water.

He said helicopters rescued 466 people by air on Wednesday night and ground teams evacuuted 951 residents from the worst hit neighborhoods of Jeddah -- Altawfeeq, Alsamer, Alnakheel, Alhamrah, Alkandarah and Ummal Khair.

Video from Jeddah showed rushing water through the streets carrying cars and people downstream. Shops and offices were closed and boarded up to try and prevent the flooding from reaching inside buildings.

Approximately 5,000 residents remained without power as of Thursday afternoon after power was restored to 65,000 customers, according to the Saudi Electricity Company, as reported by SPA.

In November of 2009, nearly 100 people died from flooding in western Saudi Arabia. The deaths occurred the port city of Jeddah, Rabigh, north of Jeddah, and in the Mecca region, Saudi authorities said. The flooding was during the Hajj pilgrimage, but no pilgrims were killed on their journey.

CNN Weather reports did not forecast more rain for Jeddah for the weekend.

 
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