Floods add to misery of Gaza’s besieged people

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Crescent International

Safar 12, 1435 2013-12-15

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The people of Gaza suffer shortages of food, water and medicine. They have also been subjected to 12-hour power outages because of the lone power plant shutting down last month as a result of lack of spare parts. Now nature has imposed another challenge: unusual rains have caused massive flooding. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected. The zionist-Egyptian siege, meanwhile continues.

Cairo, Crescent-online
December 15, 2013, 09:17 EST

As if the people of Gaza have not suffered enough already, floods following four days of torrential rains and Israel’s criminal act of releasing water from a dam have devastated the tiny Strip. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said at least 5,000 people were evacuated from flood-damaged homes in northern Gaza and at least one person was killed. A spokesman for UNRWA described it as “a disaster area”.

There was so much flooding as a result of rain that many homes could only be accessed by boat. In some areas, especially in northern Gaza, the water was two meters deep.

Gaza's lone power plant was switched off last month because of severe fuel shortage. This is the direct result of the six-year siege imposed by the Zionist regime as well as the Egyptian military regime shutting the Rafah crossing.

Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants suffer blackouts lasting 12 hours per day.

In collaboration with the Zionists, the Egyptian military has also blown up virtually all the tunnels through which the Gazans smuggled much-needed goods. Now it is totally blockaded.

The torrential rains have simply exacerbated the problems of the long-suffering people of Gaza. There is severe shortage of food and clean drinking water. More than 90 percent of the population has no access to clean drinking water forcing them to consume contaminated water leading to water borne diseases.

Lack of medicines means many preventable and treatable diseases cannot be treated.

Lack of power generation has also resulted in sewage flooding into the streets. Children are forced to walk in the sewage to go to school.

The unusual rains have simply added to their misery.

The Hamas-run government of Gaza said 5,246 people had been evacuated to schools and other centres that are used as temporary shelters. A 22-year-old Palestinian died from smoke inhalation yesterday after lighting a fire to warm his home.

Torrential rains are unusual in Gaza. Severe weather has affected the entire region including large parts of North Africa that have witnessed unusual snowstorms. Egypt witnesses snow for the first time in 120 years.

There was even snow in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as well as the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron). Further north, snow has also blanketed large parts of Lebanon especially the Bekaa Valley where hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are trapped in makeshift tents that offer little protection from snow, wind and cold.


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