Jordan: Rains and floods kill nine, force tourists to flee Petra

Jordanian civil defense members near the Dead Sea conduct a rescue mission after rain storms unleashed flash floods in Jordan

Two women and two young girls are believed to be among those killed.

At least 11 people were killed and dozens were injured on Friday after floods ripped several areas of the Kingdom, the government said Friday. At least nine others have been wounded.

Government spokeswoman Jumana Ghuneimat and civil defence officials say the death toll rose early on Saturday, after another body was found in the Madaba region south of the capital of Amman.

Heavy downpours triggered the flash floods, forcing more than 3,500 global and domestic tourists to be evacuated from the tourist city of Petra in southern Jordan, according to Jumana Ghuneimat, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs and government spokeswoman. The Jordanian military said that that it has sent soldiers and helicopters to assist in search operations.

Two weeks ago, 21 people - mainly children - died after their bus was swept away during a school outing.

For his part, the Director of the Civil Defense of Ma'an Governorate, Salem Al Sarayrah, said that the weather conditions in Ma'an and Petra Governorates are very normal after the rains have stopped, pointing out that any emergency caused by rain storms is being dealt with.

Authorities said Friday search was ongoing for several missing persons in Madaba governorate.

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Dozens were evacuated from the area.

"Rescuers are searching for five people who are missing in that area", the source said.

"Heavy rainfall in the Dabaa region (south of Amman) prompted the closure of the desert highway (leading to the south of the country) in both directions after the area was flooded", said Ghneimat.

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

Floodwaters in Petra and in some parts of the nearby Wadi Mussa desert had risen to nearly four metres high and innudated the main roads, Jordan's state television reported.

University and schools have been closed and mosques opened to shelter civilians in areas hit by the floods.

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