1,700 Tourists Rescued From Flash Floods In Petra, Jordan

The crowded stone corridors of the popular tourist destination Petra turned dangerous recently when floods forced evacuations and injured several people.

Footage posted to social media on Dec. 26 showed floodwaters raging through the site. The chaotic scenes depicted sandy water cascading down cliffs, rivers running through what would usually be walkways, and people trying to escape in vehicles.


The calamity at the UNESCO World Heritage site triggered the evacuation of 1,700 people, according to Middle East Eye.

Heavy rain has inundated the region recently, and southern Jordan has become especially saturated. Raed Khattab, head of the Jordan meteorological department, told the Petra news agency that the country’s southern region has received the worst of the rain.


And the situation has produced more than just the reported evacuations. Jordan’s public security directorate issued a severe weather warning on Dec. 23 and reported that landslides and rockfall could occur. Jordanian news outlet Amman Net said three people sustained injuries when a deluge tipped over a minivan in the Ma’an Governorate, also in the south of the country.

Flooding in the area surrounding Petra has proved lethal in years past. In 2018, floods killed 11 people at the site and forced thousands of evacuations. That occurred just weeks after 21 others (including children on a school trip) died during floods in the Dead Sea region.

Also this weekend, flash floods hit Mecca, Saudi Arabia, causing damage to vehicles and property. Driving rain in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities forced municipal workers to pump water from choked streets.

Reports of floods also filtered in from the United Arab Emirates, Gaza, and Alexandria, Egypt, Middle East Eye reported.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.