Heavy rains, flooding kill 12 people in Jordan

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Friday's floods struck several areas of 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.

She said that searches for missing people are ongoing.

Flash floods in Jordan have killed at least 11 people and wounded several others, the state-run Jordan News Agency reported on Saturday, one-day after heavy rain hit several parts of the country, including the ancient stone-city of Petra.

He added that the floods in Petra are within their natural conditions and that the cadres of the Petra Commission are now working on counting tourists and evacuating them to their hotels, adding that the areas that have been exposed to the floods are: Wadi Musa and other areas, adding that the Desert Highway is open, under normal traffic conditions and with no reported accidents so far.

The torrents came two weeks after 21 people, a lot of them children, were killed in flash floods near the Dead Sea.

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.

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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.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba further south as downpours started in the afternoon.

In Wadi Musa, the town next to Petra in southern Jordan, water surged from nearby mountains into a dry riverbed running through the community.

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.

Jordanian authorities are asking residents in low-lying areas to evacuate their homes and take refuge in neighboring schools immediately. The tourism and education ministers resigned over the Dead Sea flooding.

Jordan's ministry of education announced that schools across the country would be closed on Sunday.

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