Following flash floods which started on Thursday 25th October, near Jordan’s shore of the Dead Sea, the death toll has reportedly risen to 21, many of them school students, with at least 40 people injured and several people still missing.
His Majesty King Abdullah said Friday that “yesterday’s tragedy touched us all as Jordanians. May God rest the victims’ souls in peace and give us fortitude.”
The Jordanian government launched investigations into the field trip organised by an Amman private school to a Dead Sea valley on Thursday despite official warnings of heavy rains forecast to hit the kingdom.
Chairing a National Policies Council (NPC) meeting at Al Husseiniya Palace to follow up on the flash floods in the Dead Sea area, King Abdullah expressed deepest condolences to the victims’ families and to all Jordanians.
“I and all Jordanians are also bereaved by this tragedy,” His Majesty said, adding that the tragedy touched the hearts of people in the region and around the world, who expressed their solidarity with Jordan.
The King called for delivering a report that determines exactly what took place, stressing the need for transparency to identify who should be held accountable.
Large stretches of the Dead Sea highway remained closed to traffic because of the rescue operations, a bridge collapse and fears of further floods with forecasts of more rain.
Rescue and recovery attempts were continuing as of Friday afternoon, as civil defence staff and the royal navy deployed divers and rescue dogs to scour the mud, debris and shorelines in the southern Dead Sea area.
The Jordanian King has announced a three-day mourning period.