Heavy rain forces return to remote learning in Saudi Arabia

Rain and flooding have forced people to stay indoors for a week

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Schools and universities in Jeddah have moved to remote learning since last week as authorities warned people of heavy rain and advised everyone to remain indoors.

“Students have been studying from home since Thursday, since it flooded in our neighbourhood,” said Haifa Ali, a Saudi mother in Jeddah. “My car, that was parked outside, was submerged in water. Only our car in the garage is fine, but we are not going out until the weather improves.”

“We tied up an inflatable boat on top of our car and tried to help people in our neighbourhood on Friday,” Jeddah resident Faisal Omran told The National.

Flights to Jeddah were delayed last Thursday due to the weather.

“We have been teaching from home, which is much safer for staff and students as we can't risk young children being stuck in cars in case it rains a lot like last time,” said Fatima Mahmoud, a Saudi teacher in Jeddah. “It's been a great break from school to be honest and we don't have to be stressed about being stuck in traffic.”

Classes have so far been suspended in schools and universities in Jeddah, Rabigh, Madinah and Taif, ahead of heavy rain forecast on Wednesday.

Some parts of the city are submerged in water as officials are intensifying efforts to clean up. “Since the recent floods we have been working around the clock to ensure people get home safe,” a security official in Jeddah told The National.

“I was in the mall on Sunday when all the shops started closing down because of the rain around 7pm,” said Madiha Khalid, a Pakistani resident in Jeddah.

“I started to panic and waited for two hours before a driver could reach me to take me home.”

The National Centre of Meteorology announced that moderate and torrential thundershowers, accompanied by strong winds, are expected to fall on parts of Asir, Baha, Makkah and Madinah regions, extending to some parts of Qassim, Hail, Tabuk, Northern Borders and Jawf regions later on Tuesday.

Thundershowers, accompanied by strong winds, are possible in Riyadh, Jazan and the kingdom’s Eastern region, it said.

An advanced alert was issued for heavy rain in the Riyadh region until noon on Wednesday.

Snow is expected to fall in Tabuk, including Alaqan, Dhuhr and Jabal Al Lawz.

Updated: January 03, 2023, 3:26 PM
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