BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Gaza Ministry of Information announced Saturday that the numbers of residents staying in shelters in the besieged coastal enclave had hit 5,000 as streets and homes remain flooded in large swathes of the territory.
Separately, the Gaza Health Ministry said that the number of people injured in storm-related incidents over the last four days throughout Gaza had hit 96 on Saturday, after flooding hit dangerously high levels due to record rainfall on Friday.
Gaza's civil defense force media spokesperson Muhammad al-Midna told Ma'an that civil defense teams had successfully evacuated 1,190 people from their homes since the beginning of the storm, in addition to pumping water out of flooded homes and rescuing cars trapped on flooded streets.
Al-Midna said that the hardest hit neighborhood was Nafeq Street near Sheikh Redwan, which was inundated with flood water and led to a dramatic rise in water levels in the surrounding areas.
The civil defense forces assisted many local residents in evacuating their homes, he said.
Al-Midna added that the lack of electricity had exacerbated the difficulties faced by Gaza residents as it limited the ability of civil defense forces to pump water from flooded areas.
He highlighted that blackouts of over 12 consecutive hours and the lack of fuel to run generators during those blackouts had effectively crippled the ability of civil defense forces to respond for large periods of time.
On Saturday evening director of the Gaza Ministry of Information Salama Maarouf said in a report that 5,000 Gaza residents had fled their homes for shelters, where Hamas officials were providing many with bedding and other needs.
The Health Ministry had announced earlier in Saturday afternoon that 2,234 individuals from 433 families were staying in shelters, which are primarily located in schools across the Strip.
At that time, they said that many of those arriving were being brought by civil defense forces, who on Saturday continued assisting residents "day and night" in order to help them evacuate their flooded homes.
The Gaza Strip is currently under a state of emergency due to severe weather conditions caused by a historic storm front moving south across the Levant.
Fuel shortages have caused daily life in the Gaza Strip to grind slowly to a halt since early November, as power plants and water pumps are forced to shut down, cutting off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents.
The Gaza Strip has been without a functioning power plant since the beginning of November, when the plant ran out of diesel fuel as a result of the tightening of a seven-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian support.
The plant itself was only reopened last year after it was targeted by an Israeli airstrike in the 2006 assault on the Strip. The power plant generates around 30 percent of the Gaza Strip's electricity supply, while the rest comes from Israel and Egypt.
Until July of this year, the tunnels to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory amidst the otherwise crippling Israeli blockade. The blockade has been in place since 2006, and it has limited imports and exports and led to a major economic decline and wide-reaching humanitarian crisis.
In the last year, however, the situation had greatly improved, as the tunnels to Egypt witnessed a brisk trade following the Egyptian Revolution.
Gaza Strip energy officials have blamed Egypt for destroying numerous tunnels linking the Gaza Strip and Egypt in recent months. They also blamed the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority for charging taxes on fuel too high for Gaza Strip authorities to afford.