Heavy rains have caused flooding across the Gaza Strip, leading to an evacuation of residents from low-lying districts.
Over the past few days, the Gaza Strip has experienced heavy floods and strong winds, leaving some of the poorest people in the most vulnerable areas exposed to the biting cold and unrelenting rain.
According to local sources, the rain has overwhelmed the territory’s beleaguered sewage system and forced at least eight families to evacuate from their makeshift homes in the northern Gaza Saftawi neighbourhood.
The Ministry of Education in Gaza has closed all schools due to the persistent bad weather, while some universities suspended classes.
Gaza’s civil defence spokesman Muhammad Al-Maydana told Ma’an News Agency that ten homes were flooded in the northern Gaza Strip neighbourhood of Saftawi and had to be evacuated. Nobody was injured, he added.
The head of Gaza City’s emergency committee, Saad Al-Din Al-Atbash, said that emergency crews were working non-stop to deal with the consequences of the inclement weather.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture said that with the enclave witnessing above-average rainfall for the time of year, the soil and plants will benefit, and the aquifer will be replenished.
The flooding coincided with an announcement by the Gaza Electricity Company on Thursday that the Egyptian power lines feeding the blockaded coastal enclave with 20 megawatts of electricity have been damaged, causing 12-hour per day power cuts.
Israel and Egypt — supported by the West — imposed a blockade on the Palestinian territory after Hamas won the democratic elections in 2006. The restrictions on spare parts and three Israeli military offensives have since taken a heavy toll on Gaza’s infrastructure.
Gaza has been hit by severe flooding in the past, exacerbating the dire situation faced by Palestinians in the territory. Thousands of residents have been unable to rebuild their homes destroyed during Israel’s 2014 offensive and suffer from severe shortages of electricity and drinking water.
A 2012 United Nations report warned that water from Gaza’s sole aquifer would become completely undrinkable by the end of 2016, with the damage becoming irreversible by 2020.