GAZA – The heaviest snowfall in decades hit Palestine this month while torrential rains and flooding forced hundreds of people out of their homes seeking refuge in public buildings.
Wesam and his family are one of them. The 35-year-old Gazan was at home with his wife and five children when heavy rain and sewage flooded his house. “My house is completely destroyed by the floods. We had to flee our home and I couldn’t take any money or extra clothes. We have nothing now,” said Wesam who takes shelter now with his family in a school building.
Wesam and his family are among 10,000 people in public shelters who received WFP ready-to-eat food following the storm. The emergency ration included canned fish and bread packs.
WFP, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), also reached 1,000 people that are affected by the storm in the West Bank. Heavy snowfall had resulted in electricity cuts and infrastructural damages, leaving a large number of households without power. Also, more than 250 people are receiving food vouchers, allowing them to purchase food products from local shops.
Reaching affected Palestinians is a top priority for WFP. As the temperature is rising and snow in the West Bank starts to melt, more floods are expected in the coming days. “It’s a precarious situation. WFP continues to closely monitor the impacts of the extreme weather conditions on the food security situation and is prepared to deliver additional food assistance,” said WFP Country Director Pablo Recalde.
The food security situation in Palestine has been already alarming before the storm with a total of 34 percent of Palestinian households – approximately 1.6 million people – found to be food insecure in 2012. WFP currently reaches 648,000 food insecure Palestinians every month.