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Floods in Jordan kill 11, force tourists to flee Petra

10 November 2018

At least 11 people were killed and dozens were injured on Friday after floods ripped several areas of the Kingdom, the government said Friday.

Heavy downpours triggered the flash floods, forcing more than 3,500 worldwide and domestic tourists to be evacuated from the tourist city of Petra in southern Jordan, according to Jumana Ghuneimat, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs and government spokeswoman.

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.

She said two women and a child were among those killed in the floods. Rescuers continued the search for missing people around the Wala reservoir in central Jordan on Saturday.

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.

Two weeks ago, 21 people - mainly children - died after their bus was swept away during a school outing.

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Rescue teams and helicopters are searching for five people whose vehicle was swept away in Madaba, south-west of the capital, Amman.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in the Red Sea port of Aqaba further south as downpours started on Friday (November 9) afternoon.

Videos posted on social media networks showed torrents of water gushing through the canyons, and local reports claimed the floods stirred a panic among tourists visiting the area.

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

Jordanian authorities are asking residents in low-lying areas to evacuate their homes and take refuge in neighboring schools immediately.

The authorities said on Saturday they had evacuated hundreds of families living in makeshift tents in outlying rural and desert areas and scattered settlements in villages in the southern parts of the country that were hardest hit. The education and tourism ministers resigned after the incident.

Floods in Jordan kill 11, force tourists to flee Petra