Palestinians say IDF made situation worse by opening dam flooding many houses. State of emergency declared in West Bank; vehicles, house catch fire
Ali Waked Published: 01.19.10, 00:26 / Israel News
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip accused Israel on Monday of being responsible for making flooding worse. According to their claims, the IDF opened a dam between the city of Gaza and the central Gaza Strip, which caused flooding in dozens of houses.
In the Eshkol regional council, which borders the Strip, the claims were dismissed. The council said it knew nothing of such a dam.
Palestinian medical sources said that civil defense services had evacuated dozens of houses in the area after they had been flooded. No injuries were reported. Palestinian rescue personnel are working to clear the water but many residents are still unable to return home. The civil defense called on residents to avoid entering the area with vehicles.
Rescue personnel in the West Bank have also declared a state of emergency. Floods have hit various areas, and flooding is expected to get worse. The civil defense called on Palestinians to avoid using coal or wood for heating, and to use heaters instead, to lessen the risk of fire. Residents were also warned to be alert to fires that could break out due to incorrect use of heating appliances.
Palestinians reported that they had treated dozens of injured people and dealt with various incidents, including rescuing people from broken elevators and vehicles. They said a woman was stuck for hours in an elevator in Ramallah, while in Bethlehem a house caught fire.
A number of vehicles got stuck in the floods and a wheel factory caught fire due to a short circuit. In the Hebron and Bethlehem area, a number of vehicles also caught fire, also as a result of short-circuiting.
Illana Curiel also contributed to this report
Flooding in Negev Photo: Yosef Badlov, courtesy of Ministry for Development of Negev and Galilee
Additional Photo: IAF choper rescue passengers after their car is stuck in flood
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