Tag Archives: winter storm

Palestine shuts down as storm strikes

8 Jan

305474-1A Gaza street scene during recent flooding (Maan Images)

Ma’an News Agency report, 7 January 2014

Millions of Palestinians bunkered down at home Wednesday as they faced down the first day of huge winter storm that has brought a mixture of rain, hail, and snow accompanied by heavy winds crashing into the Holy Land this week.

Palestinian authorities on Wednesday afternoon announced that all official business would be closed Thursday because of the storm, which has been nicknamed “Huda” in Palestine and Jordan and “Zina” in Lebanon, and urged people to take safety measures in the coming days.

The storm is expected to last until Sunday, bringing snow in higher areas around Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron in the occupied West Bank as well as in northern Israel, while flooding is expected along the coastal plain, including in the Gaza Strip.

Temperatures have dipped far below averages and are expected to hover around or just above freezing in the West Bank both day and night over the next week.

Palestinian authorities on Wednesday praised the role of civil defense units and medical centers until now, as they worked overtime to respond to emergencies and braced for the work to be done in the coming days.

Already in some areas across the region temporary electricity cuts have been reported, but many fear the worst is yet to come.

The worries are especially in the Gaza Strip, where widespread flooding only last month in a much smaller storm in December prompted the United Nations to declare a state of emergency.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that dozens of homes were already flooded by Wednesday afternoon, forcing “hundreds” from their homes.

The agency quoted Gaza municipal authorities as as warning of a coming “humanitarian crisis.”

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