UN Agency Declares State of Emergency in Gaza Due to Flooding

Hundreds evacuated from homes after extreme weather hits the Strip; scores of schools closed as precautionary measure.

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Palestinians carry their belongings as they leave their flooded family house during heavy rain in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014.
Palestinians carry their belongings as they leave their flooded family house during heavy rain in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014.Credit: AP

A UN agency on Thursday declared a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip following two days of extreme weather and flooding.

Hundreds of Gazans have been evacuated from their homes in the vicinity of the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency declared on its website.

No casualties were reported.

An UNWRA school and shelter in Gaza City were also reported at risk by rising waters, and over sixty schools in the city were closed Thursday afternoon, affecting almost 65,000 students. An additional forty-three schools in northern Gaza Strip are also closed.

In response to the crisis, UNWRA has set up an emergency operations room in Gaza City, and is supplying emergency fuel to the Strip’s localities, in addition to water, sanitation and health care services. UNWRA has also made available fuel for generators and water pumps.

"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,” Gaza’s UNRWA Director of Operations, Robert Turner, said. “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,” Turner added.

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