Dozens rescued from flooding as heavy rain shuts schools and roads in Saudi Arabia

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The heavy rain flooded roads in Madinah. (Supplied)
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The heavy rain flooded roads in Madinah. (Supplied)
Updated 30 January 2019

Dozens rescued from flooding as heavy rain shuts schools and roads in Saudi Arabia

  • The Civil Defense said it rescued 65 people in Tabuk and Al-Jouf and 37 people west of Duba
  • Severe weather forecast to last until Tuesday

JEDDAH: Heavy rainfall and sandstorms in the Kingdom have led to flooding, school closures and poor visibility, authorities said Monday as they urged people to take precautions during the bout of bad weather.

Rain hit northern and western parts of Saudi Arabia on Sunday and Monday, while sand swept through major population areas to bog down the skyline.

Schools shut in Tabuk, Arar and Al-Jouf because of flooding and there was low visibility in Riyadh among other places.

"Riyadh, Makkah, the northern border region, Hail, Tabuk, Qassim, Madinah, the eastern province, Asir, Jazan and Al-Jouf are experiencing unstable weather and the General Directorate of Civil Defense calls on citizens and residents not to risk themselves and their families, and avoid going to valleys or dangerous areas," Maj. Mohammed Al-Hammadi, Civil Defense spokesman, told Arab News.

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah urged passengers to check their flights with delays and cancelations expected.

Civil Defense said it had rescued 65 people in Tabuk and Al-Jouf and 37 people in Duba. It told people to exercise restraint while driving and take maximum precautions.

The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection forecast rainfall in the north and west, and sandstorms or dusty winds in several parts of the Kingdom.

Thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by gusty winds and dust, reducing visibility in Riyadh and the Eastern Region and resulting in lower temperatures.

In Makkah winds of 37 km/h are forecast, while in Jeddah wind speeds could reach 50 km/h. 




Dust filled the air in Riyadh on Monday. (Iqbal Hossain)

Hazy weather was expected early Tuesday in Al-Jouf, Northern Borders, Hail, Qassim and the Eastern Region.

Tabuk is expected to be mostly sunny, with a maximum temperature of 16 degrees Celsius.


Give your heart to everything you do, says Duchess of York

Updated 6 min 14 sec ago

Give your heart to everything you do, says Duchess of York

  • Sarah Ferguson delighted by warm welcome in Riyadh during Misk Global Forum

RIYADH: Sarah Ferguson, Britain’s Duchess of York, said that she was moved by the warm welcome she has received from the people of Saudi Arabia. She added that it was a reflection of the good example set by the country’s rulers.

Fergie, as she is known worldwide, said she was excited and thrilled to visit the Kingdom to appear at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh.

“I love the feeling of kindness that I’m getting from the people of Saudi Arabia,” she told Arab News on Wednesday which, appropriately, was International Kindness Day. “Everyone has been so nice here in Riyadh; I think that comes from good leadership.”

She compared this wonderful reception to her experiences in other places “where people are judgmental of you,” adding: “I don’t feel that here. I feel people are embracing me as ‘Sarah’ and that is such a beautiful feeling.”

The duchess said that she hoped to return to Saudi Arabia to help the government build health centers in less-developed areas. But she admitted that it can be tough sometimes to keep going.

“We are all human and have human failings, so the best we can do is keep battling on,” she said. “It’s hard not to beat yourself up sometimes, if you’re feeling down or upset.”

Ferguson revealed that her inspiration is her daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, and that she has always tried her best to be a “great mum,” urging them to “learn from my actions rather than my words.”

She added: “If your actions are of honesty and kindness and you unintentionally trip up on the way” people are likely to see you are good-hearted.

The duchess was open about her own bad decisions which, she said, happened because she believed everyone thought the way she did.

“They didn’t, and I didn’t realize that,” she said. Despite past betrayals, she said still trusts and believes in people, and has passed on the lessons she learned the hard way to her children: “I have taught my daughters not to fall into those traps.”

In the past, she said, some people in Britain might have viewed her philanthropic work as “attention seeking,” but did not let that divert her from a path of kindness and a desire to do good.

The duchess later hosted a showcase of her retail brand, which includes room infusers, flavored teas, and jewelry. She said all profits from the jewelry sales will be used to help children through a trust she founded in partnership with the charity Humanitas.

Ferguson was invited to attend the Misk forum by Badr Al-Asakir, head of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s private office. The prince is chairman of the Misk Initiative Center.

During a panel discussion on Tuesday titled “The Resilient Philanthropreneur,” the duchess shared her experiences of working to help children worldwide, and the resilience and persistence it had required.

“Don’t let anyone doubt you and, especially, don’t doubt yourself,” she said, encouraging people to keep an “open mind” and pursue the path they believe is right.

“Give your heart to everything you do,” was her parting advice to young people.