Flash floods kill twelve in Jordan, IDF rescues missing Israelis

The ancient city of Petra is popular with tourists

Image The ancient city of Petra is popular with tourists

A civil defence spokeswoman told AFP news agency on Friday that a child was among the seven people killed by floods in the Dabaa region, south of Amman.

In the Mlaih district of the Madaba governorate, where a young girl was killed when her family's auto was swept away by flood waters, rescue teams and divers were on the scene searching for other missing people, Jordan's official Petra news agency reported. The Jordanian military said that that it has sent soldiers and helicopters to assist in search operations.

In the worst incident, 21 people - mostly school children on an outing to the Dead Sea - were killed as torrential rains poured through valleys and deep ravines.

The civil defence source said another child died in the Madaba area, also south of Amman, when the auto the child was in was caught up in waters.

Ghunaimat says several people are missing and that searches are continuing.

Government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said authorities had found alive four Israeli tourists who had gone missing in the Wadi Rum desert in southern Jordan but were looking for two more.

A major highway that links Amman with the south was also closed.

Downpours also triggered a state of emergency in the port city of Aqaba.

Floodwaters in Petra and in some parts of the nearby Wadi Mussa desert had risen to nearly four metres high and innudated the main roads, Jordan's state television reported.

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

In Wadi Musa, the town next to Petra in southern Jordan, water surged from nearby mountains into a dry riverbed running through the community.

It broadcast footage of tourists sheltering on high ground on both sides of the access road to Jordan's biggest attraction.

Ghneimat urged residents of the stricken areas and in low-lying regions to evacuate their homes, saying that heavy rains were expected to continue to lash Jordan Friday night and Saturday.

There was a public outcry last month after 18 children on a school trip were swept away, leading to the resignation of the country's education and tourism ministers.

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