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Jordan searches for survivors after floods kill 20 people, many children

Jordan searches for survivors after floods kill 20 people, many children

At least 18 people have been killed after flash floods swept away a group of teachers and students visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea. Gen. Farid Sharaa, details about the Dead Sea flood tragedy were revealed.

Chairing a National Policies Council (NPC) meeting at Al Husseiniya Palace to follow up on the flash floods in the Dead Sea area, which claimed the lives of school students and other citizens, King Abdullah expressed deepest condolences to the victims' families and to all Jordanians. The search for missing persons is ongoing and air force helicopters have been deployed to comb the area and search for survivors.

Rescue and recovery attempts were continuing as of Friday afternoon, as civil defence staff and the royal navy deployed divers and rescue dogs to scour the mud, debris and shorelines in the southern Dead Sea area.

Israel and Jordan braced for the first major storm of the winter on Thursday, with strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding expected to batter the country.

Among the dead were three Iraqis, two children and a 20-year-old woman who accompanied them on their school bus, a civil defense source said.

Crews were able to rescue at least 34 people from the flash floods, local reports said.

Neighbouring Israel sent search-and-rescue helicopters to assist, an Israeli military statement said, adding the team dispatched at Amman's request was operating on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.

There have been deadly incidents involving flash floods in Jordan in the past and in 1963, 23 French tourists were swept away by flash floods when they were trapped in the ancient Petra city.

Jordanian television reported that King Abdullah II had cancelled a planned visit to Bahrain to monitor developments.

Government newspaper Al-Rai carried the headline "Tragedy at the Dead Sea" on its front page, while the private Al-Ghad daily said it was a "Black Day".

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and popular with visitors.


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