Jordan Flooding Kills at Least 18 on School Trip near Dead Sea

Saul Bowman
October 28, 2018

An official at Jordan´s education ministry said the school had received permission around a week ago to visit Al-Azraq, the site of a nature reserve east of Amman. "What has afflicted every father, mother and family afflicts me also", the king said.

"My sadness and sorrow are matched only by my anger at anyone who did not take the steps that could have prevented this painful incident", the king wrote on Twitter.

On Thursday, areas in the kingdom were hit by flash flood due to heavy rains - which led to a sudden flow of water into several valleys in the kingdom.

Roads leading to the area were closed on Friday morning "to allow search and rescue operations", the Directorate of General Security said.

The bus had been carrying 37 pupils and seven members of staff to the Zara Maeen hot springs area when it was washed away, officials said. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and popular with visitors.

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

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Some citizens took to social media to also blame the government for not banning all trips during periods of inclement weather, and the authorities for not stopping and turning back a bus full of schoolchildren in an area where flash floods are known to occur.

He reportedly instructed state agencies to provide all needed assistance to ensure the safety of the students.

Israel's police and military said their forces were sent at the request of the Jordanian government.

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz sent his condolences to the families of the victims, promising an investigation into the incident, and said that anyone responsible would be held accountable.

Thirteen of the dead and 26 of about three dozen people wounded in Thursday's flash floods were middle school children, officials said.

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

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