Heavy rains and flooding force evacuations in the Gaza Strip

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View of Gaza Strip from Israel
Photo by David Berkowitz

Heavy rains have caused flooding across the Gaza Strip, overwhelming the territory’s beleaguered sewage system and forcing families to evacuate from their makeshift homes. A Gaza Strip resident, Basma al-Bishawi, said some locals used buckets to try to bail water from their homes “in vain” on Thursday, and that he pulled his own son from a river of sewage.

Rescuers could be seen evacuating people on small boats, while other residents waded through knee-high water to reach safety. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the Palestinian territory after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power there in 2007. The restrictions, and three wars between Israel and Hamas, have taken a heavy toll on Gaza’s infrastructure.

The Gaza Strip

The Gaza Strip is a small self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km border. Gaza, together with the West Bank, comprise the Palestinian territories claimed by the Palestinians as the State of Palestine. The territories of Gaza and the West Bank are separated from each other by Israeli territory. Both fall under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but Gaza has since June 2007 been governed by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization which came to power in free elections in 2006. It has been placed under an Israeli and U.S.-led international economic and political boycott from that time onwards.

The territory is 41 kilometers long, and from 6 to 12 kilometers wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometers. With around 1.85 million Palestinians on some 362 square kilometers, Gaza ranks as the 3rd most densely populated polity in the world. An extensive Israeli buffer zone within the Strip renders much land off-limits to Gaza’s Palestinians. Gaza has an annual population growth rate of 2.91% as per 2014 estimate, the 13th highest in the world, and is often referred to as overcrowded. The population is expected to increase to 2.1 million in 2020. By that time, Gaza may be rendered unlivable, if present trends continue.

Sunni Muslims make up the predominant part of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.

Source: Yahoo News / Wikipedia

Photo by David Berkowitz