Flash floods kill twelve in Jordan, IDF rescues missing Israelis
AP Photo/Omar Akour
Flash floods killed nine people in Jordan on Friday, the government and civil defense said, adding that five more people were missing.
Three Israelis were reported missing while traveling in Wadi Rum after they were unable to be reached by the Israeli Ministry on Saturday.
But after being in contact with Jordanian authorities, a later update by a spokesman for the foreign ministry said that "all the Israelis in Jordan have contacted us. All of them were found".
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that its search and rescue team deployed with an Israel Air Force (IAF) helicopter was able to locate and rescue the civilians.
"Despite the challenging weather conditions, the 669 elite unit, along with a civilian rescue unit, rescued four civilians from the Wadi. One of the civilians was evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment while the three other civilians did not need any medical attention," the IDF statement said Saturday.
It added that IAF helicopters were additionally working to find civilians that were swept away in Nahal Arod in southern Israel.
The bad weekend weather also saw over 3,700 tourists evacuated by the authorities from the world famous historic site of Petra.
The deaths come more than two weeks after October 25 floods in the Dead Sea region of Jordan cost 21 lives, most of them children on a school trip.
The latest downpours hit the south of the desert kingdom claiming seven lives, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said.
A civil defence source told AFP that five other people were missing.
"Heavy rainfall in the Dabaa region (south of Amman) prompted the closure of the desert highway (leading to the south of the country) in both directions after the area was flooded," said Ghneimat.
She said two women and a child were among those killed in the floods.
The civil defence source said another child died in the Madaba area, also south of Amman, when the car the child was in was caught up in waters.
"Rescuers are searching for five people who are missing in that area," the source said.
Jordanian army troops deployed helicopters and armoured vehicles to help search for the missing and assist residents threatened by the floods, state television reported.
Authorities evacuated 3,762 tourists from the ancient city of Petra, an archeological site and key tourist destination in southern Jordan, due to the bad weather, Ghneimat said.
State television said that flood water in the red-rock city of Petra and in some areas of the nearby Wadi Mussa desert had risen to between three and four metres high and flooded the main roads.
It broadcast footage showing people standing on both sides of the main road in Petra and along the desert highway trying to stay clear of the floods.
Jordan's ministry of education also ordered schools closed across the country on Sunday.
Ghneimat urged residents of the stricken areas and low-lying regions to evacuate their homes, saying that heavy rains were expected to continue to lash Jordan Friday night and Saturday.
Jordan's education and tourism ministers resigned last week after the deadly school-bus accident in the flood-hit Dead Sea region.
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