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Man and 3rd infant perish in Gaza due to freezing weather

Jan. 10, 2015 5:17 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 12, 2015 10:34 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian babies and a young man were found dead in Gaza on Saturday, bringing the total death toll in winter storm Huda to four after Palestinians in the tiny coastal enclave endured their coldest night of the storm yet.

On Saturday afternoon, a two-month-old baby girl was found dead in a shelter for the displaced in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

A relative of the baby told Ma'an that two-month-old Salma Zeidan al-Masri was found dead in the Rashad al-Shawwa shelter in Beit Hanoun. The relative said the child had turned blue from the cold by the time she was found.

A young fisherman was also found dead in Gaza on Saturday, having perished due to the extreme cold.

Nizar Ayyash, head of the Gaza Fishermen's Union, told Ma'an that Ahmad Sufian al-Lahham, 22, died while working on the shore west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The deaths on Saturday afternoon came after a newborn was found dead earlier in the day. One-month-old baby Adil Maher al-Lahham succumbed to severe cold in his home in western Khan Younis.

Two-month-old infant Rahaf Abu Assi, meanwhile, died of severe cold on Friday in Rafah due to lung problems caused by the cold.

Her family was living in a home that was partially destroyed by Israel during bombardment over the summer.

In the four days since Storm Huda landed in the Holy Land, scores of families in Gaza have been evacuated from their homes due to flooding.

Severe flooding is being reported in parts of the southern Gaza Strip, particularly affecting families living in mobile homes and others displaced by the Israeli assault.

Nearly 110,000 Palestinians were left homeless by Israel's summer offensive, which left 2,200 dead as well.

Due to the eight-year-old Israeli siege on Gaza, the vast majority of those displaced by the war have been unable to rebuild and many are left living in mobile homes or other substandard forms of housing.

The situation is aggravated by the lack of fuel for electric power, meaning that power is available roughly eight hours a day, with occasional cuts on top of that.

The lack of fuel is also result of the Israeli siege, which limits Palestinians' ability to import fuel for the electric power station in Gaza as well as for domestic needs like heating.
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