Agricultural sector in Gaza hit hard by winter storm
Published Monday 16/12/2013 (updated) 17/12/2013 21:19
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza's agricultural sector suffered devastating losses during four days of severe weather conditions in the coastal territory, Gaza officials said Monday.
Ministry of Agriculture official Ziad Hamadah told Ma'an that initial estimates suggest the animal breeding sector lost $1.7 million as a result of the storm, which killed 200,000 birds and 3,500 chickens.
At least 130 sheep and goats, 35 cows, and five camels also died in the storm, with 2,450 beehives and four fish farms suffering damages.
The heavy losses are expected to lead to an increase in the price of chicken, Hamadah said, which will be subsidized by the Gaza government if prices rise substantially.
The Ministry of Agriculture will partially compensate farmers so they continue rearing animals, he added.
At least 10,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to widespread flooding in the Gaza Strip, according to a report released Saturday evening by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The areas most devastated by the storm are "North Gaza and Gaza City where over 1,500 houses suffered damage due to water entering houses, damaging furniture and electricity networks," the report said.