Jordan ministers resign over fatal Dead Sea floods

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Jordan's education and tourism ministers resign after flash floods killed 21 people last week

Civil defence members in Jordan look for survivors after rainstorms unleashed flash floods near Dead Sea in late October (Reuters)
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Friday 2 November 2018 6:49 UTC
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Jordan's education and tourism ministers resigned on Thursday following the deaths of 21 people, mostly school children, who were swept away in flash floods near the Dead Sea last week, state media said.

A parliamentary committee formed to investigate the 25 October incident found that some Jordanian ministries were negligent and has prompted questions over how prepared government agencies are to handle such emergencies.

"Education Minister Azmi Mahafzah and Tourism Minister Lina Annab today submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz," a Jordanian official told AFP.

State media similarly reported that the two ministers had tendered their resignations.

Annab wrote on Twitter that she was stepping down "in the shadow of the general political climate and the painful period".

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Jordan: Flash flood sweeps away school bus, kills at least 20

Several members of Jordan's parliament called earlier this week for the two ministers to be dismissed because the outing had been authorised in spite of warnings of bad weather.

King Abdullah, who described the disaster as a "huge tragedy," also called on Thursday for an independent committee to be set up to investigate what happened and establish who was to blame.

The floods, which followed torrential rains, poured through valleys and deep ravines, sweeping people, vehicles and livestock to the shores of the Dead Sea.

The pupils, their teachers and minders had stepped out of their bus in a tourist area called Al-Miyah al-Sakhina when they were hit by a flash flood that washed them towards the sea.

Twenty-one people were killed in the incident, while 37 others were rescued in a major operation involving helicopters and divers.