16 die as torrential rains wreak havoc across kingdom


Published — Thursday 2 May 2013

Last update 8 May 2013 8:23 pm

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Torrential rains and flash floods in different provinces have left 16 dead and three missing.
The casualties include four members of a family in Baha, two people in Al-Kharj, three in Aflaj, one in Hariq and four in Taif, the Civil Defense said yesterday.
The missing are three expats in Baha.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has directed the Civil Defense Council to launch all-out efforts to ensure the safety of people. The king also ordered departments to take steps to offer financial and material support to flood victims.
“The king has been monitoring the situation since the heavy downpours began. He is also monitoring the efforts of all related ministries and government departments to provide relief operations and undertake safety measures,” Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif, who is also chairman of the Civil Defense Council, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The king urged council members to discharge their duty to implement all emergency plans to deal with the damage caused by weather conditions. The king’s order stated that the victims should be provided with relief and assistance, including shelters to those whose homes were wrecked and whose farms were destroyed, in addition to health care and all other daily needs, the prince said.
He added that the Interior Ministry is monitoring the field operations of Civil Defense teams in all provinces, ensuring that they are working in sync with civil defense committees under provincial governors.
Lt. Col. Jaman Al-Ghamdi, spokesman of the Baha provincial Civil Defense office, said three bodies of the missing family were discovered Tuesday night and the fourth was found Wednesday morning. The jeep carrying the family was carried away by the surging waters at Wadi Al-Lihyan in the Aqiq governorate in the evening.
After being alerted about the accident, Civil Defense sent rapid-intervention and rescue teams to the area while Baha Gov. Prince Meshari bin Saud closely monitored the operations.
About 300 officers under the supervision of Deputy Director of the Baha Civil Defense Brig. Ali Al-Sawat participated in the operations. Despite the darkness and continuing drizzle, the search teams at first located a submerged Toyota jeep with the body of a 75-year old woman in the deep valley. Search parties found the body of a 52-year-old man further downstream and that of a 30-year-old woman upstream. The body of the child accompanying the family was retrieved yesterday morning, Al-Ghamdi said.
Another team is continuing to search waters and submerged bushes looking for three Yemeni workers of a road construction company in the Aqiq governorate. The pickup truck that was carrying the three was found overturned in a valley close to the Aqiq dam.
Heavy rains led to the collapse of a ten meter-high dam in Bisha in Asir Province. The dam was temporarily built by the ministry of water and electricity to protect another dam which is still under construction. The construction work is still in its early stages, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
"The project consists of a large dam with a capacity of 68 millions square meters and is 49 meters high," the ministry said.
Four villages located around the dam were evacuated. The Civil Defense said there were no casualties among civilians in the affected areas.
"Tabalah, Thnyah, Shedaiq and Subaihi villages have been evacuated as a precautionary measure," said Col. Mohammad Al-Asemi, spokesman of Civil Defense in Asir.

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