Storms and flash flooding in southern Israel took the life of a 4-year-old boy on Thursday near the Bedouin town of Kuseife, and at least 17 were killed in Jordan, according to media reports.
Paramedics who reached the scene tried to revive the boy, then rushed him to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva where he died soon thereafter.
The incident came amid torrential rainfail and flooding in the south. Police closed off part of Route 90 along the Dead Sea due to treacherous conditions.
At least 17 school children died and 22 were injured after flash floods engulfed a spot near Jordan’s Dead Sea on Thursday where around 40 children and their teachers were on an outing, two civil defense sources were quoted by Reuters as saying.
An IDF search-and-rescue team, including helicopters, joined in an emergency operation at the scene. In all, 37 students and 7 adults were on the bus when it ran into trouble close to the Israeli border.
“In light of a request from the Jordanian government, a number of air force helicopters with 669 soldiers, led by the commander of the unit, were dispatched,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
“At this time, the soldiers are assisting in the search-and-rescue efforts for the missing and are doing all they can, despite the weather conditions, to assist the survivors in the flood area,” the army said on Thursday evening.
A major rescue operation is underway and search teams have rescued 11 people some of whom are in a serious condition, the sources told Reuters.
Hundreds of families and relatives converged on Shounah hospital a few miles from the resort area. Relatives sobbed and searched for missing children, a witness said.
Meanwhile, nine people hiking in the Tze’elim stream were pulled out by volunteers from the Ein Gedi rescue team, after their vehicles were stranded in flooding there, Ynet said.
Hail fell in Nahariya and the western Galil causing light damage.
Yerushalayim has so far had only moderate rain.
More stormy weather is expected on Thursday night. Meteorologists forecast as much as 2.3 to 7.8 inches of rain, with powerful winds at over 60 miles per hour.
Israel’s national electric company has advised people to remove any objects from their balconies and rooftops that are liable to be blown away or damaged by the storm. The IEC also warned that power disruption was likely during the storm.
The Kinneret Authority closed several beaches due to the strong winds.