Cold weather claims lives of two babies in Gaza

Rafah, on the Egyptian border, was reportedly worst hit by the storm.

January 10, 2015 13:35
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)

Two Palestinian babies have died due to unseasonably cold weather in the Gaza Strip, a health ministry spokesman from the coastal enclave told AFP on Saturday. 

A two-month-old girl from the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis died on Friday of "a pulmonary obstruction caused by the cold," the official, Ashraf al-Qudra said.

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A one-month-old boy, also from Khan Yunis, died on Saturday, al-Qudra told AFP, without providing further details.

Gazans have complained in recent days about the bitter cold they have had to endure in the temporary housing facilities that were built for those whose homes were destroyed during Operation Protective Edge, according to Israel Radio.

Palestinian reports in Gaza indicate that dozens of homes and caravans have been flooded as heavy rain and winds continue to pound the region this week. Authorities in Gaza are working to evacuate the residents from the flood-hit areas.

Gaza's sole power station, which was damaged during the war, is struggling with a severe lack of fuel and is only able to supply the enclave with six hours of power per day, according to AFP.

Gaza's civil defence service reported that dozens of homes in the coastal territory, damaged by last year's war with Israel, were flooded in the brutal storms that brought freezing rain and strong winds.

Rafah, on the Egyptian border, was reportedly worst hit by the cold and rain.

"After heavy rainfall houses were flooded to a depth of one meter (and) in places one and a half metres," a spokesman told AFP, adding that occupants were evacuated to schools.

Authorities rescued some people using small fishing boats, an AFP photographer reported.

Temperatures in the area dipped to around 2 degrees Celsius overnight Friday with more rain forecast for Saturday afternoon. 

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