A Saudi man looks at water in the flooded Nimar valley, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 19, 2013
A Saudi man looks at water in the flooded Nimar valley, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 19, 2013 © Fayez Nureldine - AFP/File
A Saudi man looks at water in the flooded Nimar valley, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 19, 2013
AFP
Last updated: November 20, 2013

Saudi flood toll rises to seven

Flash floods sparked by torrential rain in largely desert Saudi Arabia have killed seven people over the past three days, the civil defence authority said on Wednesday.

Five other people are still missing after parts of the capital Riyadh and the northeastern city of Arar were inundated, authority spokesman Colonel Abdullah al-Harithi told the official SPA news agency.

The storms that have accompanied the downpours have brought down power lines, sparking outages in parts of north Riyadh.

Schools and universities in the capital have been closed since Sunday.

Flooding of underpasses on major thoroughfares has sparked traffic chaos for Riyadh's more than five million residents.

Saudi Arabia normally experiences such low rainfall that religious leaders often organise special prayers for rain.

But in May last year, around 20 people were killed in flooding sparked by the kingdom's heaviest rainfall in 25 years.

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