Floods in Jor­dan kill 12, force tourists to flee Pe­tra

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Flash floods killed 12 peo­ple in Jor­dan and forced nearly 4,000 tourists to flee the famed an­cient desert city of Pe­tra, emer­gency ser­vices said yes­ter­day. Search teams were scour­ing val­leys near the his­toric hill town of Mad­aba for a young girl who was still miss­ing af­ter Fri­day’s floods, civil de­fence spokesman Iyad Amru told state tele­vi­sion. The ed­u­ca­tion min­istry or­dered schools closed na­tion­wide yes­ter­day amid warn­ings of more heavy rains.

Flash floods killed 12 peo­ple in Jor­dan and forced nearly 4,000 tourists to flee the famed an­cient desert city of Pe­tra, emer­gency ser­vices said yes­ter­day.

Search teams were scour­ing val­leys near the his­toric hill town of Mad­aba for a young girl who was still miss­ing af­ter Fri­day’s floods, civil de­fence spokesman Iyad Amru told state tele­vi­sion.

Among those con­firmed dead af­ter tor­ren­tial rains swept the south of the king­dom were six peo­ple found in the Mad­aba area south­west of the cap­i­tal Am­man.

To the east, three peo­ple were killed near Dabaa on the Desert High­way, one of Jor­dan’s three main north-south ar­ter­ies, while one was killed near Maan in the south.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear where the other two died.

Amru said two girls had gone miss­ing in the Mad­aba re­gion, later an­nounc­ing that one of their bod­ies had been found.

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.

“Our em­bassy in Tel Aviv con­tacted the Is­raeli for­eign min­istry for in­for­ma­tion on the iden­ti­ties of the miss­ing Is­raelis,” Gh­neimat said in state­ments car­ried by the state news agency Pe­tra.

Is­rael ini­tially con­firmed the re­port but in a later up­date a spokesman for the for­eign min­istry said that “all the Is­raelis in Jor­dan have con­tacted us. All of them were found”. The Jor­da­nian army de­ployed he­li­copters and all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles to help with search and res­cue op­er­a­tions af­ter flood­wa­ters cut off the Desert High­way in both di­rec­tions.

A res­cuer was also among the dead, the civil de­fence spokesman said.State tele­vi­sion said the wa­ters had reached as high as four me­tres in parts of the red-rock ravine city of Pe­tra and the ad­ja­cent Wadi Musa desert.

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

The govern­ment spokes­woman said 3,762 tourists were evac­u­ated.

Des­ig­nated a Un­esco World Her­itage site in 1985, Pe­tra draws hun­dreds of thou­sands of tourists a year to its rock-hewn trea­sury, tem­ples and mau­soleums.

Its build­ings have been used as sets for sev­eral Hollywood block­busters in­clud­ing In­di­ana Jones and the Last Cru­sade.

Wadi Rum, also a Un­esco World Her­itage site, has at­tracted gen­er­a­tions of tourists with its spec­tac­u­lar sand­stone and gran­ite rock for­ma­tions.

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

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