Winter storm wreaks havoc in Middle East

Dec. 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM   |   0 comments

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A winter storm in the Middle East has caused power outages, evacuations and resulted in the death of at least one person, officials say.

In the West Bank, at least one person was killed during the storm Saturday evening, while 53 others were injured in storm-related incidents, Ma'an News Agency reported.

So far, 5,980 people across the region have been rescued by civil defense forces -- mostly drivers who became stranded on snowy areas.

Civil defense forces Public Relations Director Luay Bani Odeh advised people to not leave their homes due to the weather.

In Jerusalem and neighboring communities, more than 19,500 households were without power Saturday following the storm, Ynetnews.com reported.

A man named Ido, 35, from Ein Hemed, said he and his family were stranded without power for more than 24 hours, the report said.

"We covered ourselves and the children with blankets, to warm them any way possible. The biggest issue was with baby, thank God he is still nursing because if not we wouldn't have had a way to warm his milk," Ido said. "It's like we have returned to the 19th century: No phone, no cellular network, we have no idea what's going on outside."

Local officials put blame on the Israel Electric Corp. for the power outages.

"Even the director-general of the Electric Corp., Yiftah Ron Tal, said that even if we would have trimmed the trees the problem wouldn't have been solved," a municipal official said, adding "the problem is with the infrastructure of certain areas. They haven't been changed for years because of budgetary reasons."

In the Gaza Strip, thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes during the weekend due to flooding caused by the storm, Haaretz reported.

Topics: Gaza
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