By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies
Reports of torrential rain and subsequent flooding in Egypt and Israel, resulting in seven deaths, have highlighted the dangers in such areas which do not normally have drainage systems that can cope with unusual levels of rainfall. For the people of Gaza, however, the heavy rain had an indirect but equally catastrophic effect.
According to Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Hamas-led government in Gaza, Israel opened the floodgates of one of its dams which was full due to the downpour. This flooded the Gaza Valley area, where official sources reported that the water was five metres deep in places, covering dozens of homes completely. Around 100 families have abandoned their homes, up to 500 metres from the flood-affected Valley and in Juhr Al Deek; several schools have been used as temporary shelters. Some of the residents required medical attention.
Mr. Abu Zuhri called for aid agencies to offer assistance to the residents affected by the flood, which he called "yet another Zionist crime against the people of the Gaza Strip". He added, "Israel must be held responsible and accountable for this deliberate act." Relief aid is essential because basic supplies in the whole of Gaza are at perilously low levels due to the ongoing Israeli blockade of the territory.
Hamas legislator and deputy head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Ahmad Bahar, added his voice to the call for international action and relief, saying that this deliberate act will be added to the long list of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.
This is not the first time that this part of Gaza has been flooded. Last year several casualties and damage to property occurred during similar floods. The destruction caused by the Israeli invasion and the prohibition of importing building materials has left many homes vulnerable at times such as these.