Flooding in Gaza Strip near Deir al Balah

18:00 Dec 13 2013 east of central Gaza

By Amira Hass for Haaretz
| Dec. 15, 2013 | 4:30 PM

. . .

Gaza officials blamed Israel for the flooding, saying it caused Wadi Gaza to overflow and flood residential neighborhoods by opening dams outside the Strip. Palestinian sources said these dams normally keep the water level in Gaza low.

Nehemia Shahaf, the Israeli municipal official responsible for the drainage system in part of the northern Negev, said there was one dam in the area, a one-meter cement structure in the Tze’elim area that directs water to a reservoir in Israeli territory, but that it could not be opened or closed. Shahaf said the water level was so high that the dam couldn’t stop it from reaching Gaza.

Not much of the water goes to the reservoir because most of it seeps into the ground beforehand, Shahaf added.

. . .


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Gaza government's Disaster Response Committee announced late Friday that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just east of the Gaza Strip, flooding numerous residential areas in nearby villages within the coastal territory.

Committee chairman Yasser Shanti said in a press conference that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just to the east of the border with the Gaza Strip earlier in the day.

He warned that residential areas within the Gaza Valley would be flooding within the coming hours.

He said that the move by Israeli authorities would flood areas in Moghraqa and other parts of Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, and he called upon residents of areas near the Gaza Valley to evacuate their homes in preparation for the anticipated flooding.

The Gaza Strip is currently under a state of emergency due to severe weather conditions caused by a historic storm front moving south across the Levant.

Fuel shortages have caused daily life in the Gaza Strip to grind slowly to a halt since early November, as power plants and water pumps are forced to shut down, cutting off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents.

Lack of diesel fuel is a result of the tightening of a seven-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian support.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by the State of Israel since 2006.
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