Death toll in Jordan flood rises to 20, mostly children

Death toll in Jordan flood rises to 20, mostly children

At least 20 people, a lot of them school pupils, have been killed in flash floods in Jordan, the emergency services said Friday in an updated toll.

Thirty-seven middle school students, seven teachers and several others were visiting the area when the torrent of water, triggered by heavy rain, took them by surprise, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The Reuters news agency quoted police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa as telling state television that the rush of floodwater swept away a bus carrying a total of 44 children and teachers.

Thirteen people escaped the flooding without injuries, with some holding on to rocks to survive.

"It swept away the students for four to five kilometres", some as far as the Dead Sea, he said.

Jordan's King Abdullah cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue.




Israel's military said it was helping with the operation, sending helicopters as well as search and rescue soldiers. Relatives sobbed and searched for missing children, a witness said. The arid region, the world's lowest point at about 1,400ft (430m) below sea level, is often hit by flash floods.

The region was bracing on Thursday for the first winter storms after the summer, with heavy rainfall and high winds expected.

Prime Minister, Omar Razzaz, is on his way to the site to supervise the rescue operation where school students were raided by heavy floods in Dead Sea on Thursday, October 25, 2018.

The search for survivors continued after daybreak, with helicopters and teams with sniffer dogs scouring the rocky slopes near the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley.

Most of the victims are children, many younger than 14, from a private school in Jordan's capital Amman.

Rescuers from the Jordanian civil defence and the army were working late into the night to locate survivors in Zarqa Maeen, an area known for its water springs and gorges opening on to the Dead Sea.

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