Major flash floods hit ancient city of Petra, killing at least 12 tourists, Jordan

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Heavy rain caused severe flash flooding in Jordan’s ancient city of Petra, the kingdom’s main tourist attraction, on Friday, November 9, 2018, killing at least 12 people. Nearly 4 000 people were forced to evacuate.

According to state media and Jordanian government spokesman, Petra is closed for cleanup after ‘biggest deluge in the area in decades.’ Authorities said the site will remain closed on November 10 and likely reopen November 11.

“It’s surprising how huge the flood was. I’ve never seen flooding of such intensity,” Petra’s chief administrator said.

Heavy rain began around 13:00 LT, November 9 and lasted for about 40 minutes, a tourist from Spain told AP.

At about 15:00 LT, a torrent of water came gushing through the site’s steep and narrow access canyon, flooding the area within minutes.

He said he was observing the flood from a hilltop temple, adding he saw other visitors running to higher ground.

In some areas, floodwaters rose up to 4 m (13 feet).

Floods killed 12 people, including two children and a diver involved in rescue efforts, the government spokesman said Saturday. 

The event comes just two weeks after 21 people drowned in a flash flood in the Dead Sea area. Though the final cause of death was drowning, all of the victims suffered from broken bones and other injuries because they were hit by huge boulders as they were being swept away by the flash flood.

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Featured image: Major flash flood hit the ancient city of Petra, Jordan on November 9, 2018. Credit: Tetova News

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