Image: Flooded Jeddah street
AFP-Getty Images
People are stranded in a flooded area in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jiddah on Wednesday.
msnbc.com news services
updated 11/28/2009 11:45:03 AM ET 2009-11-28T16:45:03

A Saudi official says the death toll from the unusually heavy rains that hit western Saudi Arabia has reached 106.

Rescue teams were looking for possible survivors from the downpours that caused heavy flooding in the coastal city of Jiddah, the main entry point for the millions of Muslims performing the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

The deaths have been blamed on flooding and collapsed homes and bridges.

Sami Badawood, spokesman of health services in Jiddah, says area hospitals have been equipped to deal with any possible outbreaks of diseases resulting from the flooding, such as dengue fever.

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 sewage 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 hajj, the world's largest regular religious gathering.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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