Jordan: 12 dead in bad weather and tourists evacuated from Petra

Twelve people died in bad weather in Jordan and nearly 4,000 tourists were evacuated from the ancient site of Petra two weeks after floods that left 21 dead.

"The toll of bad weather has risen to twelve dead, including a rescuer," said Saturday Iyad Amrou, spokesman for the Civil Defense. The day before, the authorities had given a death toll of seven.

Rescuers are still looking for a missing Jordanian girl in the valleys area near the city of Madaba, southwest of Amman, he said.

Among the victims, six people perished in Madaba, three in Dabaa, south of the capital, and one girl in Maan, in the south of the country. The exact location of the deaths of the other two victims was not immediately revealed.

Mr. Amrou had initially reported that two girls were missing in the Madaba area, before confirming that the rescuers had found the body of one of them.

Four missing Israeli tourists in the Wadi Rum desert have been found alive, but authorities are still searching for two more Israelis, government spokeswoman Joumana Ghneimat said in a statement issued by the official Petra news agency.

A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry initially confirmed the loss of contact with two of its nationals, before saying: "All Israelis in Jordan have contacted us. All were found ".

– evacuated tourists –

Helicopters and armored vehicles have been deployed to rescue people trapped in the water and search for missing people, according to Jordanian television.

According to images broadcast by state television, water has risen three to four meters in some areas of the Petra region and the Wadi Musa desert. The images also show tourists sheltering on elevated land on the access road to the Petra site.

Authorities said they evacuated 3,762 tourists of several nationalities from the ancient city of Petra and called residents near watercourses, bridges and tunnels to evacuate their homes in anticipation of further rains.

Listed in 1985 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists a year to visit one of the richest archaeological sites in the world with its temples and tombs built in the rock.

The ancient city has been used as a backdrop in many Hollywood films such as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

Wadi Rum, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts many tourists to view canyons, natural arches, cliffs and caves.

This desert and lunar landscape served as a backdrop to the film "Lawrence of Arabia", a Hollywood classic.

On October 26, 21 people were also killed as a result of torrential rains in western Jordan. Most of the victims were teenagers aged 11 to 14 who were on a field trip to the Dead Sea region.

A few days later, the ministers of Education and Tourism had resigned.

Jordan's water minister, Raed Abu Saud, said on Saturday that the country's 14 major dams had filled up to 26 percent of their capacity in the last 48 hours because of torrential rains.

Jordan is a water-scarce country and 90% of its territory is made up of deserts.

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