On 18 January 2010 heavy rains caused severe flooding in the Gaza Strip. In low lying areas to the south of Gaza City water has washed away farmland and flooded houses.
The most severely affected areas are some of the poorest in Gaza, where most people live in simple shelters. As the flood waters swept through densely populated areas, many of these houses were destroyed while other families lost all their belongings.
Working with the local municipality, Islamic Relief swiftly responded to the needs of 160 families living in Al Moghraqa who had been affected by the floods.
Rami Mahani, Islamic Relief’s emergency manager, said, "We responded to the crisis quickly and provided assistance for 163 families with the distribution of blankets, mattresses, jerry cans, hygiene kits, kitchen sets and gas lights. In addition to this, families received tins of canned meat.”
Close to collapse
In Gaza, the economy is close to collapse and many families are still struggling to rebuild after last year’s devastating conflict.
Due to the current blockade, fuel, medicine, building materials and spare parts cannot enter Gaza. This has hampered people’s ability to prepare effectively for the rains and to repair any damage that was caused.
Ayesha, a mother of seven children said, "We were surprised from the sudden floods, I could not take all my belongings. Our livestock were covered with water and my children’s books floated away on the muddy water.”
She added, "It will take a lot of time to return to my home with my children. Our homes are full of mud and water. We received aid from Islamic Relief, it is temporary aid but it can help us until we return."
With more rains expected in the region, there are fears that there may still be further damage to houses and agricultural land in Gaza.
Rami added, "What sets IR’s work apart is the stock-piling in our warehouses. We were prepared and were one of the first agencies to respond to the crisis. IR worked in close coordination with other aid agencies to ?avoid duplication and to support the Palestinian people."