Death Toll in Jordan Flash Floods Rises to 12

Jordan opens shelter for dozens of people whose homes were surround by water ■ Contact made with two Israelis travelling in southern Jordan

Civil defense members look for missing persons after rain storms unleashed flash floods, in Madaba city, near Amman, Jordan, November 10, 2018.
\ MUHAMMAD HAMED/ REUTERS

At least 12 were killed in flash floods in Jordan on Saturday, as rescuers continued the search for missing people around the Wala reservoir in central Jordan on Saturday.

Friday's floods struck several areas of Jordan. The kingdom's main tourist attraction, the ancient city of Petra, was closed for cleanup after what local officials said was the biggest deluge in the area in decades.

In the southern town of Maan, authorities opened a shelter for dozens of people whose homes were surrounded by water.

Flash floods in Jordan

In all, 12 people were killed, including two children and a diver who had been involved in rescue efforts, according to state media and Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghuneimat.

Israel's Foreign Ministry said that contact has been made with two Israelis who were travelling in Wadi Rum in southern Jordan. Four Israelis were rescued on Friday after floods hit the Judaean Desert, near the Dead Sea. One of them was lightly wounded.

The torrents came two weeks after 21 people, most of them children, were killed in flash floods near the Dead Sea. The tourism and education ministers resigned over the Dead Sea flooding.

In Petra, the ancient trade hub carved into rose-hued rocks, heavy rains began at around 1 P.M. Friday and last for about 40 minutes, said Rafael Dorado, 41, a tourist from Spain.

At about 3 P.M., a torrent of water came gushing through the site's steep and narrow access canyon, flooding the area within minutes, he said.

Civil defense members look for missing persons after rain storms unleashed flash floods, near Amman, Jordan, November 10, 2018.
\ MUHAMMAD HAMED/ REUTERS

Delgado said he was observing from a hilltop temple in the area, but saw other visitors scrambling to higher ground. He said some visitors were later evacuated by trucks and others made their way out on foot.

Suleiman Farajat, the chief administrator in Petra, said the site would remain closed Saturday, but would likely reopen Sunday. He said he's never seen flooding of such intensity in the area.

"It's really, I wouldn't say scary, but surprising how huge the flood was," he said.