Thursday, 27 November 2014

UNRWA declares state of emergency in Gaza amid severe flooding


The UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA on Thursday evening declared a state of emergency in Gaza City amid massive rains that have shut down normal life in parts of the besieged coastal enclave's largest city.

A major storm over the past week has filled the streets of Gaza City with water and sewage, causing further misery for the more than 100,000 Palestinians left homeless -- including nearly 30,000 still staying in emergency shelters -- from Israel's massive offensive over summer that also left nearly 2,200 dead.

UNRWA said in a statement that 63 schools across Gaza City and 43 schools across the Northern Gaza Strip governorate had been closed Thursday due to the flooding.

Hundreds of residents in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City had also been evacuated due to the rise of a "storm water lagoon" that had flooded many homes in the area.

"The flooding is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by blockade and the unprecedented destruction from the latest Israeli offensive," the UN agency said in a post on its Facebook.

The agency, which is already massively stretched due to the summer's conflict, said that it was "providing emergency fuel to supply back-up generators for pumping stations, portable pumps, municipalities, water, sanitation and health facilities."

It is also preparing to provide shelter for those displaced the storm "should the need arise." more

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