Two dead, Jeddah schools and universities close due to weather conditions

Cars drive through a flooded street following heavy rains in Jeddah on November 24, 2022 which delayed flights, forced school suspensions and closed the road to Makkah. (AFP)
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Cars drive through a flooded street following heavy rains in Jeddah on November 24, 2022 which delayed flights, forced school suspensions and closed the road to Makkah. (AFP)
Youth walk in a flooded street following heavy rains in Jeddah on November 24, 2022 which delayed flights, forced school suspensions and closed the road to Makkah. (AFP)
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Youth walk in a flooded street following heavy rains in Jeddah on November 24, 2022 which delayed flights, forced school suspensions and closed the road to Makkah. (AFP)
Two dead, Jeddah schools and universities close due to weather conditions
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The Saudi Civil Defense said that light to heavy rain and strong wind are expected. (SPA/File)
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Updated 24 November 2022

Two dead, Jeddah schools and universities close due to weather conditions

Two dead, Jeddah schools and universities close due to weather conditions
  • Images posted to social media showed standing water snarling traffic and partially submerging some vehicles

RIYADH: At least two people died on Thursday as heavy rains hit western Saudi Arabia, including Jeddah, delaying flights and forcing schools to close, officials said.

“Two deaths have been recorded so far, and we call on everyone not to go out unless necessary,” Makkah regional government said on its Twitter page.

The road connecting Jeddah and Makkah was closed on Thursday once the rains began, Saudi Press Agency said, although it was later reopened.

Al-Ekhbariya channel showed footage of worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah circling the Kaaba under a heavy downpour.

In Jeddah, images posted to social media showed standing water snarling traffic and partially submerging some vehicles.

The city's King Abdulaziz International Airport said that “due to weather conditions, the departure of some flights has been delayed” and urged passengers to contact carriers for up-to-date schedules.

SPA reported before dawn that schools in the city would temporarily be closed as rains were forecast to continue throughout the day.

Schools were also closed in the nearby towns of Rabigh and Khulais “to preserve the safety of male and female students", SPA added.

The National Center of Meteorology recorded 179 mm of rainfall on Thursday, the highest amount ever received in the city.

Rain fell from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the south of the province in a heavier downpour than the previous biggest, in 2009.

Makkah Municipality employs 11,800 field workers to prepare for the rainy season. It has machinery and equipment to deal with the expected conditions.

Its operation and maintenance department assesses the performance of rainwater drainage network channels in main and side roads, intersections and squares.

It removes sediment which can impede water flow in drainage systems, in accordance with contingency plans.

Task forces and equipment have been deployed throughout Makkah, with some 52 water tanks, each with a capacity of 194,000 gallons, removing floodwaters.

Some 146 excavating machines and 89 multipurpose trucks have been dealing with the impact of the rain and removing water from the roads and streets.

The municipality has also organized field teams to remove waste that may have built up in the wake of the downpours.

It has also increased the number of cleaning teams to work on clearing sewers to prevent any dangers that may pose a threat to residents and visitors.

The teams have been deployed along with 520 machines, including lorries, pump tanks, Bobcats, tankers and automated sweepers, as well as a large number of pumps and excavating machines.

Work is being carried out around the clock to implement contingency plans.

Makkah contains huge rainwater drainage systems that reach around 540 km and cover all of the region’s neighborhoods and holy sites.

The systems include closed trunk water mains and deep tunnel networks, as well as shallow and open drainage channels.

The municipality also carries out maintenance and cleaning operations throughout the year to help reduce the effects of flooding on the region.


Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday
Updated 24 sec ago

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia on Thursday called on the public to exercise caution over the coming days as weather warnings have been issued in several regions across the Kingdom.

The General Directorate of Civil Defense chances of thunderstorms have been forecast on Friday and Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The authority warned of moderate to heavy rains and active winds in the capital Riyadh, Hail, Qassim and the Eastern Province. It also warned some areas may experience flooding.

It also said the regions of Al-Jouf, and the Northern Borders Province will be affected by moderate rains, while thunderclouds accompanied by active winds are expected to continue to form in Asir, Jazan, and Al-Baha.

The warnings were issued based on data received from the National Center of Meteorology.

The civil defense called on everyone to be wary of the severe conditions, to stay away from places that could flood and electricity poles, and to abide by the civil defense’s instructions and updates announced through media and social media outlets.


‘From the East to the East’ art exhibition in Riyadh bridges Arab and Chinese cultures

‘From the East to the East’ art exhibition in Riyadh bridges Arab and Chinese cultures
Updated 56 min 31 sec ago

‘From the East to the East’ art exhibition in Riyadh bridges Arab and Chinese cultures

‘From the East to the East’ art exhibition in Riyadh bridges Arab and Chinese cultures
  • Palace of Culture event features 40 works by Arab artists sharing their impressions of China
  • Arab-Chinese music and dance fusion and a live art show dubbed a “symbol of our unity”

RIYADH: While bolstering trade ties and strategic cooperation during President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and China have also prioritized cross-cultural exchange to help cement the diplomatic relationship.

On the sidelines of Xi’s visit, an event titled “From the East to the East and the Selected Exhibition of Famous Arab Artists Visiting China” was held in the Palace of Culture to showcase the work of Arab and Chinese artists and musicians. 

Sponsored by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Arab League, in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Information, the event featured a traditional Ardah performance and a Chinese dance routine. 

With the faint sounds of the Chinese musical strings of the zheng, the Arabic version of the string instrument, the qanun, and the oud, a trio of Saudi and Chinese performers created a unique fusion of sounds. 

Since 2009, more than 170 well-known artists from 21 Arab countries have been invited to visit the People’s Republic by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China. The artists turned what they saw, felt and thought into more than 500 paintings, sculptures and ceramic works.

The exhibition features 40 of these works by an assortment of Saudi, Libyan, Algerian, Palestinian, Egypian, Bahraini, Iraqi and Jordanian artists alongside works by Chinese artist who visited Arab countries. 

It features Chinese paintings of Manama and Amman, and one of an Egyptian man with a camel, decorated with colorful strings and bells, against the iconic backdrop of the Pyramids of Giza.

Influences of the ancient Silk Road were also evident in several of the artworks and large screens covering the walls showing Chinese and Arabic calligraphy and heritage objects. 

The exhibition was organized by Bauhinia Culture Holdings Limited, executed by China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd., supported by the China Artists Association.

A live art show also took place, highlighting the distinctive architecture of the Great Wall of China and Diriya’s Salwa Palace. 

“I found similarities in the way rock and stone was used here and in my country,” Chinese painter Wang Haikun told Arab News. 

“These similarities prompted me to apply it to my side of the mural as a symbol of our unity.”
 


Saudi forum marks International Anti-Corruption Day

Saudi forum marks International Anti-Corruption Day
Updated 09 December 2022

Saudi forum marks International Anti-Corruption Day

Saudi forum marks International Anti-Corruption Day

JEDDAH: The 11th International Anti-Corruption Day Forum, organized by the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha), has concluded with the participation of several experts from the government and private sectors.

Titled “Corruption Risks Management in the Public Sector: Experiences, Challenges and Solutions,” the forum was inaugurated by Bandar AbalKhail, Nazaha’s vice president for protecting integrity, supervisor of oversight, investigation and combating corruption.

The official said that marking International Anti-Corruption Day was based on the Kingdom’s keenness to raise awareness against the threat of corruption, adding that efforts to eliminate it are being undertaken through cooperation at all levels.

He said: “The directives of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stress that corruption is the cause of many great problems, and what matters to us today is to be at the forefront of countries in combating corruption and to achieve the lowest rates of corruption globally.

“This approach is consistent with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which confirms that transparency and combating corruption is its main pillar to strengthen the principles of accountability in the public and private sectors, and to never tolerate corruption at all levels.”


Riyadh Season activities entertain 6m

Riyadh Season activities entertain 6m
Updated 08 December 2022

Riyadh Season activities entertain 6m

Riyadh Season activities entertain 6m

RIYADH: Riyadh Season recorded six million visitors since its launch on Oct. 21, organizers have said.

The pace of entertainment has increased in its various zones, with international events and shows, concerts and festivals for local and international visitors.

The activities have been offered in The Groves, Riyadh Sky, Little Riyadh, Al Murabba, Qariat Zaman, Riyadh Zoo, Fun Festival, Boulevard World, Boulevard Riyadh City, Winter Wonderland, Riyadh Front and Al-Suwaidi Park, whose activities ended on Monday.

During the last month, the turnout for the activities of Riyadh Season doubled with the opening of its largest area, Boulevard World, which includes 10 cultural subzones, in addition to themed experiences from different countries around the world. 


Nigerian conjoined twins to undergo separation op in Riyadh

Nigerian conjoined twins to undergo separation op in Riyadh
Updated 27 min 36 sec ago

Nigerian conjoined twins to undergo separation op in Riyadh

Nigerian conjoined twins to undergo separation op in Riyadh

JEDDAH: Nigerian conjoined twins Hassana and Hussaina were on Thursday due to arrive in Saudi Arabia for a “delicate” separation procedure being carried out free of charge on the directives of King Salman.

Yahaya Lawal, Nigeria’s envoy to the Kingdom, said the monarch had sent a flying ambulance to transport the twins and their parents to Riyadh, where the surgery would take place. 

The ambassador expressed his country’s gratitude to the king and told Arab News that the twins, born in hospital to a Nigerian couple, shared vital organs, including a liver.

“King Salman’s order to lend a generous hand to the family of the Siamese twins has delighted millions in Nigeria. The federal government through the presidency in Nigeria, on behalf of all Nigerians, has applauded this humanitarian gesture of the Kingdom.

“The government also expressed its sincere appreciation for this significant humane touch,” Lawal added.    

The envoy also expressed his nation’s appreciation for the leading role taken by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in helping to make the trip possible.

He said: “We remain ever grateful to the Kingdom, and we hope the operation, which will be conducted in the next few days, God willing, will be a successful one.”

The plane carrying the twins and their parents was flying from the northern Nigerian city of Kano to Riyadh where Lawal noted the youngsters would undergo a “very delicate separation operation.”

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the KSrelief, recently met Lawal in the Saudi capital to discuss aid and relief issues, and projects being run by the center in Nigeria.

During the meeting, the ambassador praised the humanitarian work being conducted by Saudi Arabia, via the center, throughout the world.