MOSCOW, November 29 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — A state of emergency has been declared by the United Nations in Gaza, which is currently suffering from disastrous flooding. This comes in the wake of the country’s bombardment by neighboring Israel earlier this year; approximately 100,000 of its houses sustained serious damaged or were destroyed during the conflict, which according to the UN claimed the lives of 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians.
"No casualties have been reported but hundreds of people have been evacuated and 63 schools are closed for the day in Gaza City. More than 400,000 Palestinians have been displaced since the 50-day summer conflict with Israel ended in August," the BBC reported.
The media outlet notes that heavy rains started on Wednesday, November 26, affecting thousands of Gazan families, which live "in communal shelters or the ruins of their own homes," adding that in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, people "already face a cold winter without electricity or water." The streets of Gaza are flooded with 1.5 meters of water and parents carry their children on their backs when they cross the streets.
The Washington Post cites Samira Shamali, 34, a Gazan resident, as saying: "Look! Our life has become miserable! I used to love the winter season when my family would gather indoors and share food and have fun, but all of this is gone, we are busy now covering the house with plastic and cursing the winter and the rain."
Although international donors pledged $5.4 billion in October 2014 for restoring Gaza, reconstruction has not yet begun, the media outlet stresses. Instead, Fatah and Hamas, the two Palestinian political forces, "are trading accusations over who is really in charge of Gaza and who is to blame for shortfalls in services," the Washington Post underscores.
"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," said Robert Turner, the UN's Director of Operations for its Palestinian Agency UNRWA in Gaza, as quoted by the BBC.
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