Downpour kills more than 40 in Saudi Arabia, Yemen

Twenty-four people were killed in northern Yemen, while 18 lives were lost in Saudi Arabia in flooding caused by heavy rains.

A motorist drives in floodwaters after a heavy rain in Sanaa, Yemen on April 13, 2016. Hani Mohammed/ AP Photo
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SANAA // Heavy storms have claimed the lives of at least 42 people over the past week in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, officials in the two neighbouring states said on Thursday.

Twenty-four people were killed in northern Yemen, while 18 lives were lost in Saudi Arabia in flooding caused by heavy rains.

Security sources said 10 people died in the province of Amran, north of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, and more people were missing.

Flooding damaged several houses and cut off roads in both Amran and Hajjah, northwest of Sanaa, where 14 people were killed, some of them in landslides.

South of Hajjah in the province of Al Mahwit, a dam burst causing flooding of farmland and the collapse of bridges, the sources said.

Damage to property was particularly heavy, with rushing muddy water cutting off roads and sweeping away cars and cattle, according to the officials.

Besides Hajjah and Amran, unusually heavy rainfall over the past 24 hours has also hit Sanaa and the southern port of Aden.

Yemen is located at the southern corner of the Arabia Peninsula, overlooking the Red and Arabia Seas. Its rainy season is in the spring and summer in the north. The wet season in the south is over the winter months.

In Saudi Arabia, 18 people were killed in heavy rains during the past week, while 915 had to be rescued from inside their vehicles, the civil defence said on Thursday.

Floodwaters inundated roadways in Riyadh, Mecca and the mountainous south of the mostly desert kingdom, with videos posted on social media showing cars submerged in water in the southwestern city of Abha.

The civil defence said the toll covered much of the country, from Riyadh to Hail, Mecca, Medina, Al-Baha, Asir, Najran and Jazan.

Among the dead were two people in the southwestern Jazan region, which borders Yemen.

The pair died when three areas in the mountainous district were inundated by flood waters, Al-Ekhbaria news channel reported on its Twitter feed.

The Saudi Red Crescent separately reported one death in Al-Baha, more than 300 kilometres (180 miles) north of Jazan city.

Another 27 people in Al-Baha were injured over three days because of accidents during heavy rains

Severe downpours have struck Saudi Arabia this week, including in the desert capital Riyadh where schools closed on Wednesday after floods caused traffic chaos during a storm.

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press