Deadly floods in Saudi Arabia kill at least 12

Deadly floods hit Saudi Arabia, as heavy rain lashes kingdom's aging infrastructure
2 min read
30 January, 2019
Saudi authorities on Wednesday said at least 12 people have died and more than 170 have been injured due to heavy rain and flooding.
Heavy rains have led to the deaths of 12 people [Getty/ Illustrative image]

Authorities in Saudi Arabia say 12 people have died and more than 170 have been injured this week due to heavy flooding and rain in the kingdom's northwest.

The country's civil defence agency said 10 people died in the area of Tabuk, one in Medina and another in the Northern Borders region. It did not say what caused the deaths.

Civil defence forces say they rescued 271 people over the past four days, most of them in the al-Jawf region that borders Jordan. Several were also rescued in Mecca, Tabuk, and the Northern Borders region.

The heavy rains have flooded desert valleys and forced schools to close. Social media users have posted videos showing the extent of the flooding, with videos showing rain water gushing through city roads.

A number of committees have been set up to assess the damage caused by the severe weather, the civil defence agency said.

Saudi cities are prone to flooding in heavy rain, which in places such as Jeddah often lead to deaths.

Saudis have accused authorities of siphoning money earmarked for drainage for their own pockets.

Deadly floods in Jeddah in 2009 are thought to have killed hundreds and destroyed countless homes due to the city's crumbling infrastructure.

Locals blamed corruption and land grabs by Saudi royals for the flooding, which was described by commentators as a "man-made disaster".

Gulf media reported on Wednesday that 126 local Saudi government employees have been detained for alleged corruption, which is thought to have been linked to flooding in the west of the kingdom.