Showing posts from September 28, 2008

Jordan valley withers in wilderness of Mideast politics

Jordan valley withers in wilderness of Mideast politics

The Ein Gedi spa, built 40 years ago on the shore of the Dead Sea -- the lowest point on Earth -- now offers a tractor shuttle to carry bathers across the kilometre (more than half a mile) of salt flats that separate it from the water's edge. A few kilometres (a couple of miles) up the shore, a campsite that used to rent out cabins by the sea has been sucked underground by the opening of cavernous sinkholes, some more than 30 metres (yards) wide.

The first one burst open in 1998, swallowing a cabin and a cleaning woman. "The earth swallowed her up. She fell nearly 10 metres. They made everyone leave that day and closed the camp down," says Gundi Shahal, an Israeli environmentalist who came to Ein Gedi from Germany in 1979. "Since then it hasn't stopped. The whole campground looks like a moonscape," she says as she walks past the massive holes, one of which contains the rusted shell of a car.

Across the st…