The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, has declared state of emergency in Gaza City, following extreme weather and severe flooding over the past two days. Hundreds of residents in the flooded areas around the Sheikh Radwan storm water lagoon have evacuated their homes. Luckily, no casualties or injuries have been reported.
63 schools in Gaza City are closed as a precautionary measure, and 43 more schools in the North Area of the Strip are also now closed.
"We are very concerned about such severe storms this early in the season and on the back of unprecedented damage and destruction caused by the recent conflict,” Robert Turner, UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza
Such devastation exacerbates the already poor humanitarian situation for refugees and non-refugees in Gaza, which is dealing with the aftermath of a recent conflict, and an acute fuel and energy crisis. In December 2013, the fiercest winter storm brought torrential rains and widespread flooding that displaced thousands.
Heavy downpours also battered Israel as part of what the Israel Meteorological Service said is the wettest start to the rainy season in the central region in 20 years. More than 110 mm of rain was recorded in Petah Tikva. Similar accumulations were recorded in the Negev, where flooded dry creek beds caused serious congestion on the roads. Heavy rainfall had raised Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) by 3.5 cm.
The amount of rainfall this season is far higher than average for this time of year. Over the past 75 years there have been only three years that saw more by the end of November.
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