Snow is falling in Gaza, adding another layer of misery to the freezing and flooded conditions being experienced by its besieged population. Most homes have been without electricity for 24 of the last 36 hours, many streets are under water, and schools have been closed for the last two days.
In a press release on Thursday, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri warned of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster due to the siege-induced power crisis and the atrocious weather conditions, describing the situation as “collective punishment.”
Some 30 people have been injured in car accidents and building collapses since the onset of the current bad weather bringing flooding of roads and houses in its wake.
Yousef al-Zahar, Director General of Civil Defense, said that civil defense crews are doing what they can, but they are hampered by the lack of fuel due to the siege, and cannot pump flood-waters.
Interior Minister Fathi Hammad on Wednesday noted the lack of equipment necessary for civil defence activities, stressing the need for the international community to put pressure on Israel to allow the entry of heavy equipment and tools in order to enable the disaster emergency committees to do their work.
His calls so far seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
The simple solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – lifting of the illegal Israeli siege, and opening the Rafah border for the legitimate passage of people and goods – is in the hands of the international community – along with the lives of all Gazans freezing in the dark tonight with no hope of real help reaching them.
Gaza, ALRAY – Rescue teams in the besieged Gaza Strip have been trying to help residents in need as a cold front has left the coastal enclave paralyzed.
Civil defense and medical crews have declared a state of high alert in Gaza as it has been hit with a wave of cold weather, heavy rains, and gusty winds.
Rescue teams are struggling to help Gazans despite a serious lack of necessary equipment and aid.
“We have a crisis here because our neighbor, our flesh and blood, the Egyptians, are not helping us in these hard times,” said Civil Defense Chief Yusuf al-Zahar, also slamming the Israeli blockade for the harsh situation.
“This cold front is very dangerous and we call on the international community to lend a helping hand.”
Severe weather temperatures and flooded streets have caused schools, universities, and roads to remain closed. Fallen power lines and trees have also left roads blocked off.
This comes days after school children in Gaza staged a rally in front of the house of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in protest against the ongoing power crisis in the coastal enclave.
For over a month, Gazans have been living on an average of six hours of electricity per day after its sole power generating plant was forced to close down as a result of fuel shortage.
The protesters demanded an immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade. They also called on Egypt to provide Gaza with electricity.
Fuel and electricity shortages in Gaza have also worsened after the Egyptian government’s closure of Gaza tunnels. The tunnels were the only lifeline for Palestinians living under the Israeli siege.
Press TV contributed