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Saudi floods death toll rises to 98
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia |
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - The death toll from the heaviest rainfall to hit Saudi Arabia in years rose to 98 on Saturday as more bodies were recovered, with dozens more expected to be found, a rescue services spokesman said.
The victims were drowned or were killed by collapsing bridges and in car crashes when floodwaters caused by the torrential rainfall ripped through the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on Wednesday.
No pilgrims attending the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage 80 km (50 miles) away in Mecca were among the dead, officials have said. Jeddah is the main entry point to the kingdom for pilgrims.
Hundreds had to be rescued after being stranded by the floods, with access to the city hampered after two bridges on the highway leading to Jeddah were destroyed.
Newspapers have repeatedly reported on the poor condition of the sewerage infrastructure of the city, where many live in unauthorized developments built on dry riverbeds.
About 1.6 million pilgrims have come to Saudi Arabia from abroad for the haj, the world's largest regular religious gathering.
(Reporting by Souhail Karam; Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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