The worst flood in 27 years in Saudi Arabia killed 77 people, reports quoting the Saudi government said Thursday.
Incessant rain until Thursday morning soaked the faithfuls and flooded the roads to the holy city of Mecca where millions are converging for the annual Haj pilgrimage.
The Red Sea port city of Jeddah received 2.76 inches of rain Wednesday, more than it gets in a year on average.
Seventy-three people were killed in Jeddah and four in Mecca. Saudi emergency workers rescued more than 900 people, the Civil Defense Authority said in a statement.
Wednesday's downpour and thunderstorms paralyzed the entire city, flooding streets, destroying homes and sweeping away cars.
Traffic on highways and city roads was crippled as they were either inundated or blocked by collapsed bridges and buildings.
This year's Haj that leads millions of believers to the holy shrines in the Gulf kingdom had already been hit by lower turnout amid health concerns caused by the swine flu pandemic.
Pilgrims were spending the day reading the Quran and praying at Namirah Mosque in Arafat.
In his sermon, Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz said terrorism was one of the most dangerous challenges facing the Islamic nations, indicating that Muslims and peoples all over the world have suffered from the nemesis.
The pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifah, before celebrating the Eid al-Adha, or the 'Feast of the Sacrifice,' in Mecca on Friday with a feast of mutton, sharing some with the poor.
by RTT Staff Writer
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