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Riyadh on high alert amid flooding

One woman drowns and four others are still missing as heavy rain continues to pour over the Saudi capital

Published: Updated:

The Saudi Civil Defense authority has found the body of a drowned Yemeni woman after heavy rainfall brought daily life to a near standstill in the country’s capital Riyadh, a spokesman told Al Arabiya News on Sunday.

“A Yemeni woman was found drowned in Wadi Nimar at 2 p.m. [local time],” said Abdullah al-Harethi, spokesman for Saudi’s Civil Defense authority.

Wadi Nimar is a valley surrounded by steep banks, which can suddenly fill with water during rainfall.

The 26-year-old woman was among the four people missing as rain continued to pour in the capital’s al-Jof, al-Baha and Hayel areas.

Meanwhile, Al Arabiya’s correspondent said one of the six people who were missing was found.

The man, in his early twenties, went missing when the floods covered a farm belonging to his family.

The correspondent described the man as suffering no injuries.

Riyadh resident Ebtesam al-Somali told Al Arabiya News that roads in the city “were completely flooded and blocked.”

Somali said her chauffeur had driven the opposite side of the road as the her way home was totally congested.

“People were helping each other on the roads to find an easy way out,” she added.

Meteorologists said the wave of rainfall targeting central and eastern Saudi Arabia and some Gulf areas is expected to last until Thursday.

Weather forecasts report that rainfall intensity will reach its peak on Monday and Tuesday particularly in Saudi coastal areas between Khafji and Dammam.

Average rainfall in these coastal areas may reach 100 mm.

Heavy rains in Riyadh since Saturday flooded roads and prompted authorities to take heightened security and logistical measures in order to protect citizens and prevent damage of infrastructure.

Civil Defense Forces worked across the capital and saved more than 24 citizens who were stuck in their vehicles.

Authorities advised citizens to remain indoors until floodwater subsides while the Saudi ministry of education suspended schools and universities in Riyadh on Sunday out of fear of continuous rainfall which experts confirm are unprecedented in 30 years in the kingdom.

Heavy rains fell on Saturday and Sunday in the governorates of Marat, Thadig, Diriyyah and al-Majmaah. On Saturday, rain also fell in the city of Jizan, the governorates of Sabya, al-Aydabi and al-Baha province.

(Photo courtesy: Sabq news website)