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PHOTOS: Gaza's streets remain flooded a week after storm

The UN reports that 10,000 people were displaced in the record-setting storm and that it could take another week to clear the flooding.

A father and son navigate flooded streets in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City, December 18, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A week after record-setting winter storms pounded the Middle East, areas of the Gaza Strip are still struggling to cope with severe flooding of homes and businesses. Gaza City residents reported that local government officials were slow to respond, had few available resources and showed little evidence of advanced planning. Instead, most immediate assistance was provided by community members who organized fishing boats and other makeshift watercraft to rescue people from their homes.

This week, Palestinian police and local officials coordinated efforts to help families recover belongings from their homes and restricted access to flooded neighborhoods to deter looters. Prior to the storm, 12-hour blackouts and the lack of fuel to run generators had initially limited the ability of civil defense forces to pump water from flooded areas. These conditions, due to the Israeli siege and Egyptian cooperation which closed trade through tunnels on the southern border, were somewhat mitigated by the entry of 450,000 liters of fuel paid for by Qatar to restart Gaza’s sole power plant.

However, UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness on Saturday said that large regions of the Gaza Strip were a “disaster area” and called on the international community to lift the Israeli blockade in order to allow recovery efforts to proceed. “Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this.”

Only two people are reported to have died in the storms, with others only suffering light injuries, but the UN estimates more than 10,000 were displaced, seeking refuge in schools, police stations and relatives’ homes. It is estimated that it will take another five to seven days to completely remove the remaining floodwaters and allow residents to return to their homes.

 

A boy paddles an empty refrigerator case through floodwaters in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

A Gaza City municipality worker helps a resident to cross a flooded street in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinian policemen control access to flooded areas of Gaza City to deter looting. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians pass along a sand walkway connecting flooded areas of the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians use various types of fishing craft to help residents of the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City retrieve belongings from their flooded homes. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians pile sandbags and pump water from shops and homes in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian surveys the waterlogged remains of a furniture shop in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian youth stands on a roof overlooking flooded streets in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Employees of the Jawwal mobile phone company deliver relief supplies to residents of the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians help each other to cross flooded streets in the Al Nafaq neighborhood of Gaza City. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

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  • COMMENTS

    1. marcus

      Of course streets are not draining, if they built these dams like in picture #5…

      And this has nothing to do with the blockade. Their government “showed little evidence of advanced planning” in flood prevention, but showed remarkable advanced planning and resource allocation for digging tunnels to transport troops into Israel. Had these tunnels been built on the other direction, not from Gaza to Israel but from Gaza to the sea, all this water would have been drained by now.

      Reply to Comment
    2. [...] week after record-setting winter storms pounded the Middle East, areas of the Gaza Strip were still struggling to cope with severe flooding of homes and businesses. These photos were taken on December 18, and first published on +972. Gaza [...]

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