Jordan: Flash floods kill eleven and forced tourists to flee

Jordan has once again been hit by heavy floods. Pic AHMAD ATWAH JORDANIAN TOUR GUIDE

The latest downpours hit the south of the desert kingdom claiming seven lives, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said.

He added that the floods in Petra are within their natural conditions and that the cadres of the Petra Commission are now working on counting tourists and evacuating them to their hotels, adding that the areas that have been exposed to the floods are: Wadi Musa and other areas, adding that the Desert Highway is open, under normal traffic conditions and with no reported accidents so far.

Civil defence divers searched for five people whose vehicle was swept away by floods in the Madaba area, southwest of the capital, state news agency Petra said.

The state news agency Petra initially quoted Ghuneimat as saying that four people were killed Friday. An 11-year-old girl was killed, another girl was seriously injured and divers were searching for three other members of the family. "All of them were found".

The Jordanian government also evacuated 90% of valleys inhabitants in the governorate of Mafraq and sent planes, boats, and soldiers to help in the search operations for missing residents.

In a statement on Saturday, the army said that it provided shelter for more than 100 Syrian and Jordanian civilians in a military academy in the Maan governorate to protect them from the floods. Footage showed people on the city's main road trying to stay clear of the water.

Thousands of persons were rescued from various disaster areas, including hundreds of tourists in Petra, she said.


Authorities evacuated 3,762 tourists from the ancient city of Petra, an archeological site and key tourist destination in southern Jordan, amid the bad weather, Ghneimat said.

Its buildings have been used as sets for several Hollywood blockbusters including "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". Trips to tourists sites have also been suspended.

Its landscapes served as a backdrop in the filming of the Hollywood classic "Lawrence of Arabia".

The torrents came two weeks after 21 people, majority children, were killed in flash floods near the Dead Sea.

The education ministry ordered schools closed nationwide on Saturday amid warnings of more heavy rains. The tourism and education ministers resigned over the Dead Sea flooding.

Jordan has suffered weeks of heavy rain.

Jordan is a water-poor country that is 90 percent desert.

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