UNRWA declares state of emergency in Gaza after torrential rains

Gaza lacks basic civil infrastructure, and an estimated 20,000 homes were destroyed or damaged this summer.

Flooding in Gaza
Flooding from two days of  heavy rains forced hundreds of Gaza City residents to flee their homes on Thursday, as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency declared a state of emergency in the area.
The bulk of the damage was in areas around Sheikh Radwan lagoon, according to UNRWA, which added that no injuries were reported.
“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 UNRWA’s Director of Operations Robert Turner in Gaza.
“We are particularly concerned for those families still seeking adequate shelter and preparing for the winter months, and for the impact the flooding is already having on children unable to attend school.”
One UNRWA school and an UNRWA Collective Center in Gaza City have been affected by the rising waters.
The organization closed 63 schools in Gaza City, affecting 65,000 pupils.
In addition 43 schools in the northern part of the Strip were also closed.
In one area of Gaza City, residents waded through knee-deep water with a bursting sewerage system.
In another neighborhood, Gaza’s municipal council workers and engineers were working to create a new pool to which water could be directed.
“As a result of the heavy rain, the water moved from all over the city to Shiekh Radwan pool, which is now flooded and the pumps cannot...
empty the pool quickly.
So as a solution and to prevent the floods from covering the area, we are creating a [subsidiary] pool,” said Nihad al-Mughani, head of engineers office in Gaza’s municipal council.
Gaza, with a population of 1.8 million, lacks basic civil infrastructure.
An estimated 20,000 homes were destroyed or damaged during Operation Protective Edge in the summer and major pieces of infrastructure, from roads to sewage treatment plants were seriously damaged.