Four years on, parents of Dead Sea tragedy victims still seek answers

Dead sea memorial
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AMMAN — Four years after the Dead Sea tragedy in which 22 people, the majority children, were killed by flash floods, some of the victims’ parents are renewing their request for an investigation to determine their actual cause of death, and for the victims’ bodies to be exhumed to that end.اضافة اعلان

On October 25, 2018, torrential rain caused floods that poured through valleys and ravines in the Dead Sea area, sweeping people, vehicles, and livestock, Reuters reported at the time. The flash floods also swept away a school bus that was transporting 44 children and teachers who were on a school trip.

In July 2020, following an investigation into the incident, the Amman Magistrates Court sentenced the school principal and the owners of a tourism company to three years in prison, finding them guilty of causing deaths by negligence.

Some of the victims’ families, however, are asking for the investigation into the incident to be reopened.

“We trust the judicial system in Jordan, that is why we demand that the investigation be reopened,” said Jameel Al Quran, father of Raya, one of the children who died in the tragedy.

Quran told Jordan News that the wrong people were sentenced, and that he and some of the other parents “have filed another case to find the reason of death”.

They say that, based on the condition of the children’s bodies — some had burn marks — “it is unbelievable that the children drowned”.

Most of the state institutions “have let us down”, he said, adding that the parents “protested many times after the tragedy, asking for justice for their children, to no avail”.

“Pain does not diminish over time, and not knowing what actually happened is the worst pain,” he stressed.

Munther Al-Azeh, the father of two girls who lost their lives, Reem and Hind, refused to talk about the tragedy, saying only that he does not trust any official institution anymore.

“Our children were killed and no one has succeeded in holding those who let us down fully accountable; I do not want to talk about this again, it reopens our wounds and there is nothing we can do,” Azeh said.

Several parents filed new lawsuits, according to their attorney Mohammad Al-Maharmeh.

“We filed lawsuits against several institutions for dereliction of duty, as we believe that they bear part of the responsibility for the death of these victims, and are asking for psychological and moral damages,” he told Jordan News.

He added that there are also cases in which injured survivors are asking for compensation, as “they are still bearing the consequences of this tragic event”.

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