Flash floods in Jordan kill seven people

Residents and relatives of flood victims gather outside a hospital near the Dead Sea in Jordan

Residents and relatives of flood victims gather outside a hospital near the Dead Sea in Jordan

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.

Search teams were scouring valleys near the historic hill town of Madaba for two young girls still missing after Friday's floods, civil defence spokesman Iyad Amru told state television in an update.

Government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said authorities had found alive four Israeli tourists who had gone missing in the Wadi Rum desert in southern Jordan but were looking for two more.

The civil defence source said another child died in the Madaba area, also south of Amman, when the auto the child was in was caught up in waters.

Jordanian army troops deployed helicopters and armoured vehicles to help search for the missing and assist residents threatened by the floods, state television reported.

"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. Footage showed people on the city's main road trying to stay clear of the water.

Separately, Israel's public radio said contact had been lost with three Israeli tourists in southern Jordan.

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Designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1985, Petra draws hundreds of thousands of tourists a year to its rock-hewn treasury, temples and mausoleums.

Its buildings have been used as sets for several Hollywood blockbusters including "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

The torrents came two weeks after 21 people, a lot of them children, were killed in flash floods near the Dead Sea.

Jordan's ministry of education announced that schools across the country would be closed on Sunday.

An excavator is partially submerged in a stream after rain storms unleashed flash floods, in Madaba city, near Amman, Jordan, November 10, 2018.

Jordan's education and tourism ministers resigned last week after the deadly school-bus accident in the flood-hit Dead Sea region.

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