More updates from Gaza, besieged by cruel Israeli policies and now by torrential rains, Israeli-dam flash-floods, and continued power outages [yesterday’s post here]:
UNRWA calls Gaza ‘disaster area,’ pleads for end to Israeli blockade
Dec 14, 2013
UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said that large regions of the Gaza Strip are a “disaster area” and called on the world community to lift the Israeli blockade in order to allow recovery efforts to proceed, in a statement sent to Ma’an.
“Large swathes of northern Gaza are a disaster area with water as far as the eye can see. Areas around Jabalia have become a massive lake with two meter high waters engulfing homes and stranding thousands,” the statement read.
“Four thousand UNRWA workers are battling the floods and have evacuated hundreds of families to UNRWA facilities. Our sanitation, maintenance workers, social workers and medical staff have been working through the night and round the clock to assist the most vulnerable, the old, the sick, children and women,” the statement continued.
“We have distributed five thousand of litres of fuel to local pumping stations, but the situation is dire and with the flood waters rising, the risk of water borne disease can only increase. This is a terrible situation which can only get worse before it gets better,” it added, referring to major fuel shortages across the Gaza Strip that have dramatically worsened in the last few months.
Gunness also highlighted the need for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip in order to allow the region recover from the current crisis.
“When all this is over, the world community needs to bring effective pressure to end the blockade of Gaza,” he said. CONTINUE READING
Dec 25 2012 (IPS) -By Eva Bartlett
On Nov. 17, four days into Israel’s eight-day assault on the Gaza Strip, deputy Israeli Prime Minister Eli Yishai publicly called for the Israeli army to “blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water”.
The following day, Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called for Israel to “flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing”, adding, “there is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.”
Now, nearly a month after the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, the government and international bodies in Gaza are still assessing the total damage caused by Israeli bombings on infrastructure throughout the Strip. CONTINUE READING
Crossing Wadi Gaza (Gaza valley) was always an event where the scenery became secondary to the odour: notorious for smelling of a vast cistern, the Wadi has for years been one of the main tributaries of Gaza’s sewage, channelling sewage from central Gaza into the sea, at a rate of roughly 80 million litres a day.
But after the last Israeli attacks, the route itself has become the primary concern, nauseating odour secondary.
In the hours between Tuesday Nov 20 and Wed Nov 21, an Israeli warplane bombed the simple but vital bridge connecting Gaza and all north of the Wadi with central Gaza and all south. CONTINUE READING
*north from Gaza City, overlooking sweltering concrete slums of Beach Camp and on to border with Zionist state. The stepped-building in the right hand photo is a never-finished project begun in the 90s after Oslo
As I spoke with Emad’s father last night there was a loud blast somewhere in the distance. He is hard of hearing, asked what’s that? I told him it’s a bomb somewhere. He shrugged and walked off to the mosque to pray his evening prayers.
At night I lay rooftop, again star-gazing, listening to F-16s and other IOF warplanes roar overhead every so often, and heard a series of bombings again far off.
The noise of the wedding party in eastern Deir al Balah almost obfuscated the bombings, and as the planes didn’t do their evil work in our area I, like everyone else, shrugged and went to sleep.
The thing is, here, you never know where is being bombed, whether it is farmland or a home or a car a market the beach. And with electricity cuts (ours was out at the time of the first bombings and again this morning), there’s virtually no way of getting news, save ringing up people who might have internet access or tv. But, it is so normal to have these warplanes growling overhead, menacing with their presence and the potential of at any moment dropping a bomb anywhere on the 1.7 million caged in the 360 square kilometers that is Gaza, that you’d rack up a massive phone bill trying to find out what every bombing was. Bombing in ‘defense’, of course. continue reading
the ride back from deir al balah took the coastal road, always a pleasure. crammed beside me in the 7 passenger, decades-old mercedes was a lively elderly woman in her hand-stitched robe and traditional light, white, stitched headscarf. some elderly women and men still wear these traditional clothes, though most Palestinians in Gaza nowadays are dressed in jeans, trousers, sneakers, sandals… that could be found pretty much anywhere….
she’s talking and i try to reply to her –she’s got the same maiden name as my husband’s mom, expelled from the same farming village in what is now Israel –but she’s hard of hearing. anyway she’s content enough keeping the conversation going herself. she shares the monologue with the young man pinned in on her other side. post continues
The long-awaited rains came full force.
Dehydrated Gaza was suddenly awash. And while farmers are overjoyed –they can finally plant their crops; their water wells and cisterns were destroyed during the Israeli massacre of Gaza; they must plant before the end of the month or there will be no point [we got a call right away to accompany farmers close to the border fence]–the rains brought disaster to families in flooded areas of Gaza. post continues