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Flash floods claim more lives in Oman and Saudi Arabia

Torrential rains leave 13 dead in Oman and 20 in Saudi Arabia as wadi alert issued

  • Heavy downpour
    Heavy downpours in some parts of Oman claimed a total of 11 lives on Thursday.Image Credit: Courtesy: ONA
  • Heavy downpour
    11 fatalities reported by the Royal Oman Police, nine were Omanis who drowned in flooded wadis, while the otheImage Credit: Credits: Oman News Agency
  • Heavy downpour
    A team of high-ranking government officials visited rain-affected areas of the country for a first-hand look aImage Credit: Credits: Oman News Agency
Gulf News

Dubai: Oman’s weather situation suddenly took a turn for the worse late on Thursday and claimed 13  more lives in the worst single day death toll since rains began to lash the country on April 23.

The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances (PACDA) late on Thursday issued an appeal by text message urging people “who are in wadis to leave these wadis as soon as possible due to expected heavy rains”. That advisory came too late for nine Omanis who were swept away in floodwaters at various locations.

The dead included a one-and-a-half year old infant who drowned in a falaj (irrigation stream) in Samayil district, while a 10-year-old boy was washed away in floodwaters of Wadi Andam in Sharqiya North Governorate. Two expatriates were electrocuted in weather-related incidents.

Meanwhile, 20 people have died and four people remain missing in Saudi Arabia after heavy downpours triggered flash floods in the desert kingdom for nearly a week.

People have drowned in several areas of Saudi Arabia, according to a statement by the civil defence quoted by SPA state news agency.

Rescue teams evacuated six villages in the southwestern Bisha province after a sand dam at the valley of Tabala partially collapsed, it said.

Authorities have been urging people to avoid wadi valleys and plains flooded by heavy rainfall which has continued since last Friday.

The vast Arabian Peninsula country has not experienced such a high volume of rainfall for 25 years.

But around 10 people were killed in 2011 when flooding swept through the western city of Jeddah, where 123 people also perished in floods in 2009.

The inability of Jeddah’s infrastructure to drain off flood waters and uncontrolled construction in and around the city were blamed at the time for the high number of victims.