Floods kill 7 in Jordan, visitors seek high ground in ancient Petra

Flash floods killed at least seven people in Jordan on Friday, according to the government and civil defence agency, while at least five other people were reported missing.

The latest downpours hit the south of the desert kingdom claiming seven lives, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said.

In an earlier statement, Ghunaimat said two women and a girl were killed in Madaba province when their vehicle was swept away, adding that nine people were admitted to hospital, including some in critical condition.

Flash floods in Jordan have killed at least seven people and forced the evacuation of almost 4,000 tourists from the ancient city of Petra.

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

For his part, the Director of the Civil Defense of Ma'an Governorate, Salem Al Sarayrah, said that the weather conditions in Ma'an and Petra Governorates are very normal after the rains have stopped, pointing out that any emergency caused by rain storms is being dealt with.

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Another is a rescue team member on duty in Dabaa, around 50km south of Amman.

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

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 deaths come more than two weeks after October 25 floods in the Dead Sea region of Jordan cost 21 lives, a lot of them children on a school trip. There was a public outcry last month after 18 children on a school trip were swept away, leading to the resignation of the country's education and tourism ministers.

The education ministry ordered schools closed nationwide on Saturday amid warnings of more heavy rains.

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