An unparalleled winter storm has left hundreds of families in Gaza homeless. Local sources have told the Palestine Information Centre that hundreds of homes have been flooded across the Gaza Strip while the civil defence and rescue teams are struggling to provide assistance to those affected by the storm.
The Hamas led government in Gaza said that 15 rescue shelters had been opened to accommodate displaced families across Gaza Strip, mainly in the central and northern towns. According to local emergency service units, dozens of homes were flooded as the water level in Wadi al Salqa, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, increased when Israel opened the dams east of Deir al-Balah. According to local residents Israel unexpectedly opened the dam in Wadi al-Salqa flooding nearly twenty houses in al Mashaalah area south of Deir al-Balah.
The civil defence crews evacuated those that were trapped while the local authorities attempted to set up sand dams to control the water flow. Tens of homes have also been flooded in the northern Gaza Strip and al Berka area northwest of Gaza City. Meanwhile in Wadi Gaza, in central Gaza, tens of families were evacuated due to fears about the rising water level. In Khan Yunis, nearly 100 homes housing 20 families have been destroyed. The families were moved to shelters.
The local Ministry of Social Affairs said it has provided nearly 500 families (3,200 people) with shelters and emergency aid such as mattresses and food parcels.
The local Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has urged the international community to help Gazans during this natural disaster
Memo Photographer : Mohammed Asad