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Missing persons found safe amid West Bank floods

Jan. 8, 2013 8:57 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2013 6:22 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinians feared dead after their vehicle was swept away by floods in the northern West Bank were found to be safe on Tuesday evening.

A taxi driver and two women were returned by Israeli authorities after the taxi was caught up in severe flooding near Anabta, east of Tulkarem.

The deputy governor of Nablus, also near the village, Anan al-Atira told Ma'an that the passengers were not injured.

Ambulances are unable to access most of the Tulkarem district due to heavy flooding, Raed Yasin, director of ambulance and emergency services in Tulkarem Red Crescent association, told Ma'an.

The Palestinian civil defense department appealed to all the West Bank residents to avoid leaving their houses because of the severe weather conditions. Tulkarem security official Ibrahim Hneihin urged citizens who own trucks or bulldozers to contribute to rescue efforts.

In Nablus, in the northern West Bank, a road connecting the city to Beit Iba village was closed by police after it was blocked with one-meter of rainwater and a roadside wall collapsed.

One family in the Rafidia district of Nablus had to be rescued by civil defense crews after their home filled with water.

More than fifteen houses were completely submerged in water in Ein Shibly village, east of Nablus, according to the village’s mayor Mahmoud Abu Hatab. Bulldozers are trying to stem the tide of water from a ravine near the homes.

In the village of Burqa, south of Nablus, two brothers were swept away after the Bab al-Wadi dam burst.

Locals told Ma’an that Tamir Omar Hajja and his brother Shakir were evacuated to Rafedia Hospital in Nablus suffering moderate wounds after they were swept away.

More than 30 houses in the village were submerged and floods swept huge rocks near residents' homes, resident Ishaq al-Burqawi told Ma'an.

In Qalqiliya, vast areas of agricultural land were covered with water.

In the village of Habla, Israel's separation wall caused the water running in valleys to change its course and flood toward house and fields.

The village's scout leader Karim Abu Kharroub said scouts were working with municipal teams to aid residents.
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