Two dead in Riyadh floods
Riyadh (AFP) May 5, 2010
Two people died in the flooding caused by violent thunderstorms which paralysed Riyadh this week, Saudi newspapers reported on Wednesday.
Some 155 people had to be rescued as cars, buses and commercial vehicles stalled in up to two metres (6.6 feet) of water in underpasses and low-lying roads when the flooding hit during the afternoon rush hour on Monday, civil defence spokesman Abdullah al-Ghaffari told the Saudi Gazette.
No details were given about the two people who died.
Riyadh has not seen such heavy rains, accompanied by hail, since the desert capital was inundated in 1996, according to meteorologists.
Fearing more bad weather, city officials called a state of emergency and shut schools on Tuesday, but the anticipated storms never materialised.
Government meteorological officials warned that more heavy rainfall could occur on Thursday or Friday, the Saudi weekend.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed uncommonly heavy rainfall in the past six months, with flash floods in Jeddah in November drowning 120 people and leaving thousands homeless.
Last month, a man, his wife and their four children were killed when floodwaters caused by heavy rains swept their car away in the kingdom's southwestern Assir region.
earlier related report
Torrential rain has triggered heavy flooding in northern and western Afghanistan over the past three days, Abdul Mateen Idrak, the head of the National Disaster Management Authority, told AFP.
"So far we know that up to 12 people have died in Herat and at least 19 in Ghor," he said, referring to provinces in western Afghanistan. The death toll may rise as we are still investigating."
The floods destroyed hundreds of houses as well as crops and irrigation systems, Idrak said.
President Hamid Karzai has sent relief teams to the affected areas to help the victims, his office said.
Natural disasters are common in mountainous Afghanistan, where more than 200 people lost their lives in heavy avalanches earlier this year.
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Violent thunderstorms unleashed tornados and flash floods over the southern United States over the weekend killing at least 22 people and forcing the Kentucky governor to declare a state of emergency. Governor Steve Beshear said Monday four people died in weather-related accidents in his state and requested federal assistance to deal with storm damage. "I urge individuals who encounter h ... read more
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