Three Dead in Gaza Due to Freezing Temperatures, Including Two Infants

Delays in reconstruction leave tens of thousands of Palestinians without shelter in enclave devastated in summer war.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinians gather around fire as they warm themselves inside their damaged apartment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.
Palestinians gather around fire as they warm themselves inside their damaged apartment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Two infants and one man died due to the intense cold weather in the Gaza Strip over the weekend, Palestinian health services reported on Saturday.

The victims' families blamed the deaths on delays in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, devastated in last summer's war, for leaving tens of thousands of people without adequate shelter during the rain and cold.

One of the infants, four-months-old girl Ghahef Abu Aasi, was living with her family in a building partly destroyed by Israeli bombings during the war. The child's father said it was impossible to heat the house. "Suddenly she turned blue and stopped breathing, and we were helpless," the father said.

The family of the other infant, one-month-old boy Aadel Lakham, has been residing in a caravan since their home was bombed during the war. The family had no way to ward off the cold, and the child stopped breathing and died.

Later, the Palestinians also reported that a 22-year-old fisherman died of heart failure caused by severe cold while at work, fishing.

About 100,000 buildings or structures were damaged in the 50-day-long war between Israel and the Palestinian factions of the Gaza Strip last summer. The UN says this includes over 18,000 housing units that were entirely destroyed.

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