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49 injured in storm-related accidents across Gaza Strip

Dec. 13, 2013 7:08 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 14, 2013 8:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Gaza government's Disaster Response Committee announced Friday evening that at least 49 people had been injured as a result of the storm pounding the Gaza Strip.

Chairman Yasser Shanti said in a news conference that at least 46 minor injuries and 3 severe injuries have been recorded in medical facilities across the strip as a direct result of the devastation caused by the storm.

He added that the committee had saved 150 families from their homes over the past 24 hours, and in coordination with energy authorities have worked to repair electric lines hit by the storm.

Brig.-Gen. director of civil defense Youssef al-Zahar in Gaza said that 265 crews have been working over time since the beginning of the storm to help with evacuations.

He said that "crews of the civil defense evacuated 60 damaged houses" and "rescued 30 cars stuck in rainwater" in addition to repairing dozens of houses that had suffered major wind damage.

He called on citizens to be cautious about using firewood and charcoal for heating inside homes and to ensure proper ventilation.

Electricity availability has decreased to 1-2 hours per day in recent days, leaving most Gazan households almost completely powerless in the face of record cold temperatures and severe flooding.

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.

Lack of diesel fuel is a result of the tightening of a seven-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian support.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.
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