How a Jordanian ‘Aquaman’ rescued six children from drowning

A video showed a Jordanian trying to reach the apartment window where children had been screaming for their lives

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Jordan’s Rakan Qteishat was hailed a “brave hero” and “Aquaman” on social media after footage of him risking his life to rescue six children trapped in a basement in Amman’s Hai Nazzal area during recent flash floods went viral.

An amateur video showed the 24-year-old fighting his way through the gushing water while he tried to reach the apartment window where the children had been screaming for their lives.

Qteishat and the six children were swept away with the stream after he was able to break open the window using a metal rod.

In an interview posted to Facebook, he said that he and fellow young men from the neighbourhood had volunteered to assist people whose houses were damaged by the floods.

“We did not fear for our lives but only thought of the kids inside the house,” he said in the video.

He also said the youngest child was a one-year-old, while the oldest was 12.

A heavy storm has spread across several areas in the Middle East since late October and has continued this week.

Forty minutes of heavy rain flooded Jordan’s capital Amman last Thursday, causing dozens of death and the destruction of several homes and businesses.

The Jordan Times reported that the floods destroyed goods in more than 500 shops, with the “losses estimated at around $7 million.”

The Civil Defense Department said its workforce and vehicles in the Amman, Balqa and Zarqa governorates carried out 400 operations to pump water out from shops, houses, and rescued around 750 people who were trapped in their cars, the Jordan Times reported.

Many have been expressing their frustration through social media by criticizing the Jordanian authorities’ lack of security preparation and the capital’s weak infrastructure for the damages that have resulted.

Raed Omari, a Jordanian journalist and commentator, told Al Arabiya News that the government should be held accountable for the flooding.

“The government is allowing the uncontrolled spread of housing construction in all places and all directions.

“Amman now looks like huge blocks of cement with no empty spaces to absorb the heavy rainfall. It’s all cement and asphalt,” Raed said.

In 2013, about 500 tents were damaged by flooding in the Zaatari refugee camp, a camp based in Jordan that hosts about 83,000 refugees from Syria. This year, the floods have mostly hit Amman.

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