Jor­dan floods kill 12, tourists flee Petra

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

AM­MAN: 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 de­fense 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. A spokesman for the Is­raeli for­eign min­istry con­firmed that con­tact had been lost with two Is­raeli tourists who were in Wadi Rum. 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 de­fense spokesman said. State tele­vi­sion said the wa­ters had reached as high as four me­ters 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 moon­like land­scapes served as a back­drop in the film­ing of the Hollywood clas­sic Lawrence of Ara­bia.

The lat­est deaths come af­ter Oct 25 flash floods in the Dead Sea re­gion of the king­dom killed 21 peo­ple, most of them chil­dren on a school trip. Jor­dan’s ed­u­ca­tion and tourism min­is­ters both re­signed last week over fail­ings in the govern­ment’s re­sponse to those floods. The ed­u­ca­tion min­istry or­dered schools closed na­tion­wide on Satur­day amid warn­ings of more heavy rains. Jor­dan’s min­is­ter of wa­ter and ir­ri­ga­tion, Raed Abu AlSaoud, said yes­ter­day that the coun­try’s 14 main dams had filled up by some 26 per­cent of full ca­pac­ity in the past 48 hours be­cause of the tor­ren­tial rains. Jor­dan is a wa­ter-poor coun­try that is 90 per­cent desert. — AFP

MAD­ABA, Jor­dan: Res­cuers are seen at the scene of a flood in this city near Am­man on Fri­day. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.