One dead, hundreds rescued as floods hit Saudi Arabia's Asir region

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Citizens in Asir were urged to take precautions, and avoid going near valleys that could threaten their safety.
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Residents of Asir were warned on Tuesday to avoid straying near river banks due to the possibility of flashfloods during sudden downpours. (SPA)
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Residents of Asir were warned on Tuesday to avoid straying near river banks due to the possibility of flashfloods during sudden downpours. (SPA)
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Residents of Asir were warned on Tuesday to avoid straying near river banks due to the possibility of flashfloods during sudden downpours. (SPA)
Updated 15 February 2017
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One dead, hundreds rescued as floods hit Saudi Arabia's Asir region

ABHA: Saudi authorities have reported the death of one person on Wednesday and the rescue of hundreds of others after severe flooding in Saudi Arabia's Asir region.

The Civil Defense said an individual had died and ten others injured as the agency rescued over 280 people while dealing with more than 900 emergency calls in the southern cities of Abha and Khamis Mushayt.

Flooding in the region caused road closures and the launch of warning sirens in Abha dam area.  

Civil Defense authorities said that rescue teams in Abha city saved several people whose cars were submerged in water. No injuries were reported. Many schools were closed following the severe rainstorms. 

Asir Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khalid has directed the Emergency and Civil Defense Committee to closely follow up efforts to alleviate the poor weather conditions in the region. 

Saad bin Abdullah Al-Thabet, spokesman of the governor’s office, said the governor is following up the efforts of government agencies. He also said warning sirens in the Abha Dam Valley are a precautionary measure when the dam has flooded. He said that it is a routine measure to preserve the safety of citizens and residents.

Al-Thabet urged citizens to take caution, and avoid going near valleys that could threaten their safety.

He also noted that the Emergency and Civil Defense Committee, headed by Undersecretary of the region Suleiman Al-Greish, has been following up the situation since the start of rain early on Tuesday. He added that the committee has also studied ways of activating the precautionary measures and how to alert citizens and residents, as well as finding urgent solutions to avoid hazards.

 


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.