Saudi Arabia – 1 Dead, Hundreds Rescued After Floods in Asir Region

Update: 17 February 2017

A train derailed near Dammam, capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, on Friday 17 February after flooding from heavy rains damaged the railway line Saudi Railways Organization said in a statement. At least 18 people were injured.

Original Report: 15 February 2017

The Saudi Directorate of Civil Defense (SDCD) reports that 1 person has died and at least 10 were injured after severe flooding hit the country’s Asir region on Wednesday, 15 February 2017.

SDCD also says that searches are ongoing in Abha for several people that are believed to be missing in the floods.

The heavy rain began to fall on 14 February. The worst hit areas were around the southern cities of Abha and Khamis Mushayt. Flooding caused road closures and cars were left trapped, submerged in the streets. A tunnel in the city of Khamis Mushayt was completely flooded and left 4 people trapped in their vehicle. All four were rescued.

Emergency crews responded to a total of 914 calls for assistance. Many of the 280 rescued were in vehicles at the time.

Schools have been closed as a result of the severe weather.

The flooded tunnel in Khamis Mushayt. Civil Defense rescued trapped drivers safely. Photo: SDCD

3 Months of Rain in 24 Hours

SDCD says the heavy rain began to fall on Tuesday, 14 February and some vehicles, including a school bus, were trapped in fast flowing water.

According to WMO figures, Khamis Mushayt recorded 63 mm of rain in 24 hours to 15 February.

Abha recorded 90 mm during the same period, which is roughly the equivalent of the averages for January, February and March combined. During an average February the city would see around 21.5 mm and 45.5 mm in March, according to WMO.

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Flooded roads in Asir Region, Saudi Arabia, February 2017. Photo: SDCD