FloodS following heavy rains in Jeddah resulted in delayed flights, forced school closure and suspension of traffic to Makkah on Thursday. Winter rainstorms and flooding occur almost every year in the coastal city where residents have long decried poor infrastructure.—AFP
FloodS following heavy rains in Jeddah resulted in delayed flights, forced school closure and suspension of traffic to Makkah on Thursday. Winter rainstorms and flooding occur almost every year in the coastal city where residents have long decried poor infrastructure.—AFP

RIYADH: At least two people died on Thursday as heavy rains hit western Saudi Arabia, including the coastal city of 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,” the Makkah regi­o­nal government said on its Twitter page.

The Makkah region includes Jeddah, the kingdom’s second-largest city of roughly four million people, and Makkah city, the holiest city in Islam where millions perform Haj and Umrah pilgrimages each year.

The road connecting the two, which many pilgrims use to reach Makkah, was closed on Thursday once the rains began, state media reported, although it was later reopened, authorities said.

The state-affiliated Al-Ekhbariya channel showed footage of worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah 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.

The official Saudi Press Agency 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 said.

The kingdom is in the middle of final exams, yet schools had already been closed nationwide on Wednesday after King Salman declared a holiday following Saudi Arabia’s shock defeat of Argentina in the World Cup.

Winter rainstorms and flooding occur almost every year in Jeddah, where residents have long decried poor infrastructure. Floods killed 123 people in the city in 2009 and 10 more two years later.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...
Policy rate hike
Updated 27 Nov, 2022

Policy rate hike

The decision to hike the policy rate by 100bps is a step in the right direction, even if intended to appease the IMF.
Vawda’s reprieve
27 Nov, 2022

Vawda’s reprieve

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his...
Gujarat’s ghosts
27 Nov, 2022

Gujarat’s ghosts

TWO decades have passed since the bloody Gujarat riots, one of the worst spasms of anti-Muslim violence witnessed in...