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20 villages near Nablus without electricity since Wednesday

Dec. 15, 2013 2:42 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 16, 2013 11:06 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- More than 20 villages and neighborhoods in Nablus district in the northern West Bank have been without electricity for the last four days, causing huge losses to farmers and private properties.

Executive director of the Northern West Bank Electricity Company Yahya Arafat told a Ma'an reporter that the electricity network completely collapsed just as the storm started to hit the district, leaving the entire region powerless throughout the storm.

The company lost 66 of its 88 megawatt capacity at that time, effectively cutting off service to 95,000 customers, he added.

Although emergency teams were dispatched and their numbers were increased from three to 36 operating round-the-clock trying to fix the issues with the networks, as of Sunday the region was still powerless.

In the newer parts of Nablus, Arafat said, only seven houses had been left without electricity because repair teams were unable to access them due to heavy snowfall of up to a meter.

Arafat said the main problem facing those regions without power was related to the main grid providing electricity from Israel. As of Sunday, an Israeli company was still trying to reinstall seven transmission towers that had collapsed completely, but Arafat said that the Israeli company had said they still needed 48 hours before their work would be complete.

In the mean time, more than 20 villages and neighborhoods south of Nablus remain in the dark.

Deputy mayor of Awarata village south of Nablus Qays Awwad highlighted said that hundreds of olive trees have been damaged as a result of the storm and dozens of steel structures used for livestock were destroyed.

Large numbers of poultry in steel structures, added Awwad, could die as a result of power cuts.

A poultry breeder from the village of Tell west of Nablus Khalid al-Sayfi told Ma'an that he suffered losses of up to a half million shekels ($145,000) after the roof of his farm collapsed. He said that when he woke up in the morning, he received a phone call from the landlord who owns the farm building telling him that the roof fell to the ground as a result of piling snow.

"The roads were completely closed to traffic, so I went with my brother on foot to the farm which is 3 kilometers away. When were arrived, we were agonized by the scene. The roof fell on the chicken."

He added that he telephoned the civil defense services and the ministry of public works for help so he can save some of his birds, but nobody was able to do anything because all roads were shut down by snow.

"We gave up hope after we waited four hours watching 7000 birds dying one after the other."

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