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Heavy rains, floods kill 24 in Yemen and Saudi

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* At least 24 dead in heavy rains and flash floods

* 5 days of rain leave villagers stranded, homes submerged

SANAA, July 16 (Reuters) - Fierce rains and floods have killed 24 people in northwest Yemen and southwest Saudi Arabia and cut off several villages, local media and government officials said on Friday.

Heavy downpours in Yemen's Wasab Safil district forced a dam to burst, the Interior Ministry said, citing witnesses, killing nine people.

Scattered floods throughout Yemen's northwest region brought rocks tumbling down from hillltops onto buildings. Several homes and a hospital collapsed, killing at least seven. Four people were injured and several remained trapped under the rubble of the hospital, Interior Ministry said.

Yemen's Civilian Defence Centre said the total death toll stood at 23, including some who drowned as flash floods swept through the streets and trapped drivers in their cars.

The heavy rains have also isolated villages in southwest Saudi Arabia, near the Yemeni border, the Saudi newspaper Al Watan said.

One person was reported dead in Saudi Arabia, according to the Arabic daily. In Jizan, a civil defence team is searching for a man believed washed away by flood waters after his brother's body was found.

Defence forces had responded to 100 calls for assistance from people stuck in their cars as floods hit, it said. (Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa and Erika Solomon in Dubai; writing by Erika Solomon; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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