Hamas secures housing for families displaced by storm
Published Friday 20/12/2013 (updated) 21/12/2013 20:19
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Authorities in the Gaza Strip on Friday decided to close emergency shelters after securing houses for all displaced people following a 4-day storm that caused widespread damage in the coastal territory, undersecretary of the Gaza Ministry of Social Affairs Omar al-Darbi told Ma'an.
Authorities closed Abed al-Rahman Ben Awf School in Sheikh Ridwan in northern Gaza, the last remaining shelter, after the Gaza Ministry of Social Affairs found housing for the 58 displaced families who were seeking refuge there.
All families whose houses suffered major damage due to intense flooding of up to 50 cm were given checks for $1000 in compensation.
The ministry also gave checks of $500 to families who were displaced because their apartments were located in the upper floors of flooded buildings, al-Darbi said.
The ministry provided each family with a food parcel worth 400 shekels, and the ministry also paid the cost of transportation for the families who had to move from shelters.
The ministry plans to continue clean-up efforts and the pumping of water from still-flooded areas, and will give further compensation to families once the spoke of the damage in those areas is clear.
The Gaza Strip suffered extensive flooding and widespread property damage due to to severe weather conditions caused by a record-breaking storm front in early December.
Between 10,000 and 40,000 were displaced in the storm's aftermath, which exacerbated a major fuel shortage that had caused daily life in the Gaza Strip to grind slowly to a halt since early November, cutting off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents.
Lack of diesel fuel is a result of the tightening of a 7-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian support.
Until July of this year, tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory amid 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.