Gazans displaced by war struggle to find heat, shelter in stormy weather

Approaching storm threatens to deepen misery in Strip, where thousands live in UN shelters and damaged homes and power is on only 12 hours a day.

January 7, 2015 18:51
1 minute read.
Gaza City

A Palestinian man sits with his son outside their house, that witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in the east of Gaza City January 7. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinians in Gaza who lost their houses in the recent war faced harsh conditions on Wednesday amid strong winds and heavy rains in the region.

The approaching storm threatened to deepen the misery in the Gaza Strip, where streets are still strewn with wreckage from a 50-day war with Israel last summer, thousands live in UN shelters and damaged homes and the power is on only 12 hours a day.

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"What our preparations (for the storm) should be? We don't have houses to stay in, we are living in an apartment that we had to move into. As you can see, our houses are only rubble (now) and our preparations (for the storm) are only in this tent. We hope that God blesses us," resident of Shejaia neighborhood of Gaza, Baker Al-Batniji said.

"As you can see, we try to warm our sons by this fire. No matter what, we have to keep our sons warm. You can see this blizzard, they say that a stronger blizzard will be coming," resident of Khan Younis city, Ra'fat Al-Najjar, said.

The approaching storm, due to peak on Wednesday, was expected to be lighter than in December 2013, when snow fell for three days, paralyzing the Holy Land and causing power outages that left tens of thousands cut off from electricity and heating.

"Even nature is angry. I hope God is not angry with us...I am frightened for the fate of those without shelters, whose houses Israel destroyed," said Gaza City resident Abu Ahmed, heading to buy fuel for a fire.

Snowploughs and power crews were on alert in Jerusalem and in the Palestinian Territories.

On July 8, Israel launched its offensive in Gaza unleashing air and naval bombardments in response to a surge of cross-border rocket attacks. Fighting between Israel and the Islamist militant group Hamas in Gaza killed over 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, along with 64 Israeli soldiers and five civilians.

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