Saudi Arabia Floods – 11 Killed, 3 Missing

Flash floods in several parts of Saudi Arabia over the last 4 days have killed at least 11 people. According to Saudi’s Civil Defence General Directorate figures quoted in local media, four people have died in Makkah (Mecca) region, three in Asir region, three in Najran region and one in Riyadh region since heavy rainfall triggered flash floods on 23 March 2015.

Civil Defence figures also note that over 400 vehicles have been trapped in flood water, and around 300 people had to be rescued from the floods.

Flood Warnings

Riyadh

Heavy rain was continuing to fall yesterday, 26 March 2015, including in Riyadh city. The Civil Defence General Directorate in Riyadh region has called on everyone to take caution and follow safety guidelines.

Spokesman for Civil Defense in Riyadh, Major Mohammed Al Hammadi, reiterated the need that everyone should take caution and follow safety guidelines to avoid risks that might occur as a result of such weather fluctuations.

He called on all people to follow the media to get information on weather fluctuations, and report emergencies to the civil defence.

Al Bahah

Earlier, Bahah civil defence had alerted people to stay away from valleys in advance of potential flash floods on 23 March 2015.

According to media spokesman of the directorate of civil defence in the region, Col. Jama’an Al-Ghamdi, the directorate had moved the safety patrols and stationed them at the entrances of the valleys, to alert citizens and residents of the danger of crossing or sitting near the dangerous sites.

saudi arabia floods
Floods in Al Bahah, Saudi Arabia March 2015 – Photo: Ministry of Interior

Floods in a Desert Climate – Algeria, Chile, Saudi Arabia

After Tamanrasset in Algeria and Atacama in Chile and Peru, Saudi Arabia is the third desert climate area to see heavy rainfall and floods in the space of the last few days.

Previous Floods in Saudi Arabia

Some areas of Saudi Arabia are regularly threatened by seasonal flash floods, despite low amounts of annual precipitation.

Three people died in floods in Hail (Ha’yel) Province in north west Saudi Arabia in March 2014.

At least 4 people died in floods in Riyadh during November 2013, after which the city announced a series of flood mitigation measures.

The city of Jeddah in Mekkah province suffered major flooding in November 2009, which left 122 people dead.