King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Visit Accident Victims

February 03, 2008

AMMAN (JT) - Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania on Sunday visited four hospitals in Amman and Irbid to check on the condition of 16 people injured in a recent road accident.

The accident, in which a passenger bus and a water tanker collided and plunged into a deep valley on the Amman-Jerash highway, claimed the lives of 21 people and injured 33 others.

Those who remain at hospital are receiving medical care at the King Abdullah I Hospital in Irbid and the King Hussein Medical Centre, Queen Alia Hospital and Israa Hospital in Amman, in addition to the Jerash Hospital.

In Irbid, Their Majesties extended condolences to Yassar Khasawneh, who lost three of his children in the accident. They also checked on the condition of his two other children: a daughter whose spinal cord is broken, and a son who has broken limbs and lung damage and whose spleen was removed by doctors.
The King and Queen wished all the injured a speedy recovery.

Doctors at the four hospitals briefed Their Majesties on the victims’ conditions, saying some of them are expected to be wheelchair-bound for the rest of their lives.

The accident, which a police report attributed to “speed disproportionate to the condition of the road”, triggered a public outcry, with calls for curbing road accidents.

In the aftermath of the accident, the King addressed a letter to Prime Minister Nader Dahabi calling for changing the “culture and behaviour related to traffic and use of roads”, a matter, he said, that necessitates an overall revision in order to produce a feasible nationwide strategy to address the problem, which kills a child every 35 hours in Jordan.

His Majesty is scheduled this week to attend a meeting which brings together representatives of all parties and agencies concerned with the issue to work out feasible mechanisms to curb road accidents, a solution which has become a national priority, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Queen Rania on Tuesday made an emotional public plea in an op-ed Her Majesty wrote for the local dailies four days after the tragic accident.

"If [the day of the accident] January 26 was a day of mourning and grief, let us make it a day of commitment, willingness and determination," Queen Rania wrote.

According to official figures, more than 7,000 people were killed on Jordan’s roads in the past decade, which saw 175,000 injuries.

Last year alone, the number of accidents in the Kingdom stood at 111,000, with 979 deaths compared to 98,000 accidents and 899 deaths in 2006, costing the Kingdom more than JD255 million.