Image Credit: Twitter@alriyadhdaily

Dead Sea, Jordan:  Update:  A pathologist says the last of 21 victims of a recent flash flood in Jordan has been identified after DNA testing showed that one family inadvertently buried the wrong child.

The flood, caused by heavy rains, had swept away middle school students and their teachers while they were visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea on Thursday.

Twenty victims were swiftly buried, but the body of one girl could not immediately be identified.

Dr. Ahmed Bani Hani, director of the National Center for Forensic Medicine, said Saturday that testing showed that a family that lost twin girls in the flood had inadvertently buried a girl from another family.

The official news agency Petra quoted Bani Hani as saying both families have been notified. Funeral arrangements were not immediately clear.

King Abdullah described the disaster as a "huge tragedy that hurt all of us" and the national flag was lowered in mourning as public opinion and politicians began raising questions in local media outlets

“My grief and pain is beyond description, and it is only equal to my anger at those who failed to take measures that could have prevented this painful incident,” King Abdullah said.

“I offer condolences to myself and to Jordan for the loss of my Jordanian family. The suffering of every father, mother and family caused by this incident is my suffering.”

The Royal Hashemite Court ordered the lowering of the Jordanian flag to half-mast as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives.

The majority of dead were schoolchildren. The dead also included three Iraqis and a 20-year-old woman who was with the children on the school bus, a civil defence source said.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai , offers condolences to Jordan.

The death toll of the flash floods has risen to 21, says the Jordan News Agency.

Earlier in the day emergency services said at least 20 people, most of them schoolchildren, were killed in flash floods in Jordan, in what a government newspaper dubbed a "Tragedy at the Dead Sea".

Another 35 people were injured following heavy rains on Thursday, including members of the security forces involved in rescue operations, a civil defence official told AFP, updating earlier tolls.

A security source said rescuers were still searching for eight people missing in the Dead Sea area, a popular tourist attraction around 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Amman.

"Most of the dead were schoolchildren aged 11 to 14 taking part in a school trip to the Dead Sea region" when their bus was swept away by the floodwaters, he said.

The floodwaters had carried away schoolchildren into the sea after they had descended from the bus.

Also among the dead were passers-by who had been picnicking in the area, the civil defence said, adding that a nearby bridge had collapsed.

 

One body was recovered early Friday, a day after middle school students and teachers visiting hot springs in the area were swept away by the torrent.

Civil defense officials say the surge, caused by heavy rains, carried some for several kilometers toward the Dead Sea.

The victims, mainly schoolchildren and teachers, were killed on Thursday in a flash flood near Jordan's Dead Sea that happened while they were on an outing, rescuers and hospital workers said.

The site of the accident near the Dead Sea where people were killed in a flash flood. The dead included a number of children who were on a field trip aged between 12 and 14, according to government officials speaking on state television.  AP

Several more students were injured in the incident near the Dead Sea, said an official from the civil defence, Jordan's fire service, who asked not to be named.

"Heavy rains caused a flash flood close to the Dead Sea that washed away a school bus carrying 37 students and seven minders," the official said.

"The students were on a school trip and it appears that a mudslide along the road swept their bus away," the official said.

Civil defence spokesman said the number of casualties was expected to rise.

about the preparedness of emergencies services to cope with such a disaster.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said it appeared the school had broken regulations by going ahead with the trip, which had been banned in the Dead Sea area because of bad weather. He also called for an investigation into infrastructure in the area.

A bridge on one of the cliffs of the Dead Sea collapsed under the force of the rains, the first such after the end of summer.

Many people were rescued in an major operation involving police helicopters and hundreds of army troops, police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa told state television.

Some of those rescued were in a serious condition

Many of those killed were children under 14. A number of families picnicking in the popular destination were also among the dead and injured, rescuers said, without giving a breakdown of numbers.

Hundreds of families and relatives converged on Shounah hospital a few kilometers from the resort area. Relatives sobbed and searched for details about the missing children, a witness said.

King Abdullah of Jordan cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations, state media said.

Civil defence spokesman said the number of casualties was expected to rise. Rescue workers using flashlights were searching the cliffs near the shore of the Dead Sea where bodies had been found.

A witness said a bus with 37 schoolchildren and seven teachers had been on a trip to the resort area when the raging flood waters swept them into a valley.

Heavy rains hit Jordan on Thursday afternoon, causing floods in several areas.

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth, is surrounded by steep valley slopes that frequently witness flash floods and landslides.

UAE leaders offer condolences

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted: “Our hearts are with the people of Jordan, and we share their pain in the incident in which a school bus was swept away by a flash flood. May the souls of the children rest in eternal Paradise. May Allah have mercy on their souls. Our heartfelt condolences to the people of Jordan during this difficult time.”

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE, also sent out a tweet, stating: "We share the pain of the Jordanian people. The unfortunate event that took the lives of many. .. We ask God to have mercy on their souls and the fast recovery of the injured and save Jordan and its people from any calamity...My sincere condolences to His Majesty King Abdullah II and the people of Jordan."

UAE Embassy warning

UAE Embassy in Amman calls on Emirati nationals in Jordan to follow the public safety guidelines, and the embassy calls upon its citizens to contact the following emergency numbers if necessary: ‎065934780-065934781, according to Jordan News Agency.