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Saudi flooding dath toll hits eight
by Staff Writers
Riyadh (AFP) Nov 18, 2015

Ecuador declares state of emergency for El Nino
Quito (AFP) Nov 18, 2015 - Ecuador braced for a destructive season of weather caused by the El Nino phenomenon by declaring a 60-day state of emergency Wednesday in its most vulnerable provinces.

President Rafael Correa said the measure would free up "necessary and indispensable" emergency relief in case of disasters caused by El Nino, the cyclical warming of the central Pacific Ocean.

Government data indicate that the water level along Ecuador's Pacific coast is abnormally high, which "puts infrastructure near the shoreline at risk," Correa said.

The emergency is in effect in 17 of the country's 24 provinces.

Correa caused controversy last August by declaring a state of emergency after a volcanic eruption that included "preventive censorship" of news reports not approved by the authorities.

The latest state of emergency does not include censorship measures.

El Nino causes a spike in extreme weather events such as floods and droughts every two to seven years.

Scientists say the current cycle is the most intense in more than 15 years.

The death toll from two days of rains and flooding in western Saudi Arabia rose to at least eight on Wednesday, including three children, public safety officials said.

Most of the fatalities came in the Medina area, in the kingdom's west, where five bodies were recovered, the civil defence agency said.

Among the victims were two children, it said.

On Tuesday, civil defence said two people were electrocuted in Jeddah, the kingdom's second-largest city, and an 11-year-old boy drowned in Yanbu further north.

With fears of more rain, the education department announced that Jeddah schools, shut since Tuesday, will stay closed until Thursday.

Floods killed 123 people in the Red Sea city in 2009, and about 10 people two years later.

The latest inundation led to barbed comments on social media, where users posted pictures of flooding at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport, which is undergoing a major expansion.

Eight domestic flights were delayed there on Tuesday because of the rains.

Under the hashtag, "Jeddah is drowning", Twitter user Hassan al-Harthi claimed that "Jeddah airport fails before its opening."

Another user, Hussein Shabakshi, poked fun in a Tweet: "The competitive advantage of buying property in Jeddah is that sometimes you go to the corniche and at other times the corniche comes to you."

Major infrastructure improvements since the earlier flooding were designed to prevent a recurrence.

"They were efficiently and effectively implemented and supervised," the Mecca government, which includes Jeddah, said in a statement responding to public criticism.



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Previous Report
Deaths, flight delays as heavy rains hit Saudi
Riyadh (AFP) Nov 17, 2015
At least three people died and flights were delayed during heavy rain that fell on Saudi Arabia Tuesday, officials said as the desert nation braced for a cool snap. Two people in the Red Sea city of Jeddah were electrocuted, and an 11-year-old boy drowned in Yanbu further north, the civil defence agency said. Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport said eight domestic flights were ... read more

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