Saudi emergency services carried out a major rescue operation in Jeddah on Wednesday as water levels rose rapidly in the Red Sea coast city in which floods killed 123 people in 2009.
King Abdullah ordered the mobilization of all relevant services "because of the havoc caused by rains and floods in Jeddah and its environs," the official SPA news agency said. "We must send reinforcements immediately to limit the damage as rains are expected to continue in the coming days," the king was quoted as saying.
He added: "The minister of finance has been instructed to allocate the funds necessary to put all emergency resources and reinforcements" at the disposal of rescue and response teams. The Monarch also warned that "whoever is careless in this serious matter will be severely punished."
The floods caused the closure of main roads in the east of the city as civil defense teams used six aircraft to save some 70 people and boats to rescue more than 300 people. The heavy rains completely cut off power supply for some neighborhoods in the city.
Earlier, the Meteorology Department has launched repeated warnings to citizens via SMS in which it said that rainy thunder clouds and brisk winds moving from different directions of the city. The Directorate General of Civil Defense has also warned citizens through mobile phone messages to be caution and stay indoors as much as possible.