Why no one in Jordan believes the weather forecasts

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Jordanian rescuers search for survivors of flash floods at the Dead Sea area, Jordan, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (AP)
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Jordanian civil defence members search for survivors after rain storms unleashed flash floods, near the Dead Sea, in Jordan on October 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 26 October 2018

Why no one in Jordan believes the weather forecasts

  • The Education Ministry and the school are responsible for what happened

AMMAN: Veteran weatherman Jamal Al-Mousa told Arab News there is a flaw in how most people react to weather forecasts.
Many people believe that weather predictions should have no margin of error, and that their accuracy should be 100 percent, he said. “This is not possible, of course,” he added.
“The Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD) weather reports are based on scientific analysis and satellite pictures. But the weather is subject to change at any time. Failing to issue accurate reports should not be a reason for the public not to take weather forecasts seriously. What would they lose if they take precautions?”
Al-Mousa, a weatherman for 40 years, said all parties shared responsibility for the tragic incident on Thursday. “The Education Ministry and the school are responsible for what happened. But they are not the only ones. The police department and the families of the victims also bear part of the responsibility,” he said.
Nasser Bashiti, a former school principal, told Arab News that in the past few years many JMD weather forecasts were unreliable. “The efficiency of their reports was not up to standard and many of the predictions never even came close to reality. “In normal situations, people should take precautions and prepare for any bad weather conditions. But even apart from the JMD’s failure to issue reliable and scientific reports, people trust international weather reports or non-government weather agencies, and in many cases these institutions lack professional and advanced weather-forecast devices.
“This leads to people’s recklessness with regard to weather forecasts.”

Divided Arab economic summit: We must help suffering refugees

Updated 54 min 31 sec ago

Divided Arab economic summit: We must help suffering refugees

  • Lebanese foreign minister Gebran Bassil called for 'effective solutions' for the return of Syrian refugees to their country
  • Summit also called for dialogue over growing tensions between Israel and Palestine

BEIRUT: The fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit was held in Beirut on Sunday, in an effort to, among other things, find ways to alleviate the suffering of refugees in the Middle East.

The summit, though attended by representatives from 20 Arab nations, was soured by the absence of most Arab heads of state, and was divided over several issues, including the absence of Syrian delegates, and a boycott by Libya.

The summit did, though, call for dialogue with the international community over growing tensions between Israel and Palestine.

Delegates expressed their support for the Palestinian people, and cited the “collective responsibility” of all parties towards maintaining the city of Jerusalem’s “Islamic and Christian identity.”

In a statement, the summit declared: “We reiterate Palestinian refugees’ rights of return and compensation, according to the UN General Assembly’s resolution 194 of 1948.”

Delegates also discussed at great length the need for international cooperation to support the growing digital economy across the region. They emphasized “the importance of building the necessary capacity” to benefit from the digital economy, and praised the initiative launched by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to create a sovereign investment fund to support the development of technology in the Gulf and the Middle East.

They urged all Arab nations to “support this initiative to strengthen the joint Arab economy,” and called on other Arab banks and funds to invest in it.

The summit also praised the role of small and medium businesses across the Arab world for their contribution to flourishing Arab economies, as well as the implementation of the Pan-Arab Renewable Energy Strategy 2030, to ensure power across the region becomes cleaner and more sustainable.

The summit was far from harmonious, though, with the Lebanese foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, addressing the hall to ask the international community “to assume its responsibilities by finding effective solutions for the return of Syrian refugees to their country.”

Bassil called on Arab nations and others to “shoulder the burden, honor their commitments and meet the refugees’ needs.”

There were also disputes over the attendance of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as well as the boycott by Libyan delegates.

“I am saddened because of the absence of the Libyan delegation, and by the circumstances that led to this point,” Arab League president, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said.

Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, echoed the words of his foreign minister, calling on the international community “to exert all efforts to provide the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and to present incentives so they can contribute to their country’s reconstruction.”

He proposed the establishment of an international Arab bank to help affected countries overcome the crisis, and invited established Arab funds to Beirut to discuss his proposals.

“I deplore the absence of other Arab presidents and kings, but each of them has his reason. Our union remains of great importance given that we will not be able to address the challenges facing our region and peoples, unless we agree on key issues,” Aoun said.

The next Arab Economic and Social Development Summit will be held in Mauritania in 2023.