Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Besieged Gaza Strip battered by historic storm

International Solidarity Movement: Gaza’s bad weather has disrupted access lines and flooded whole areas. Thousands of families have been evacuated. Numerous injuries and two deaths have been reported. The Zionist siege and occupation contribute to aggravating the situation for tens of thousands of people.

The main route of access between the north and south of the Gaza Strip, called Saladin Street has been flooded, making travel very difficuly. A microbus running from Gaza to Rafah must be able to avoid deep pools of water by going from one lane to another, slowly and laboriously climbing over the hedge that separates them. Some cars are blocked because the water is high enough to disable their engines. Carts are pulled by donkeys, who walk with their feet in the water.

...In the Jabalia refugee camp, which lies at a low point in the north of Gaza, a young man on the street reported that one man had died from the fatal mixture of broken electricity wires and water in the streets. Boys said that last year, three people and one horse were killed the same way: an electrical wire broke and fell into knee-high sewage water, which the wastewater plant and pumps couldn’t move out of city.

Yusuf Khela, manager of the Jabalia municipality, says that two projects have been underway. One project would pump water directly to the to the wastewater plant further north without passing the sewage treatment plant in Jabalia. To manage this, it would be necessary to pump 3000qm3/h, but because of the fuel shortage, it is often difficult to manage these. The municipality installed two pumps in case one runs out of fuel, to guarantee at least some pumping of water.

Even if there is fuel, it will be expensive, costing 7 NIS per liter. To afford these, the government is even cutting employees’ salaries in order to fuel the pumps. If they stop working, the rain, salt and sewage water mixing together, particularly during the heaviest rain in decades, would first flood all of Jabalia camp....

A NASA view of the border between Israel and Egypt, with the Gaza Strip on the right

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