Sewage water flooded the village of Um Al Nassrin the northern part of the Gaza strip on Tuesday midday in what was described as a disaster. Five Palestinian civilians were killed and scores of others injured. Many more are still missing.
Ground-level holding pools near the village which contained raw sewage errupted on Tuesday midday, flooding the village and leaving at least 200 homes under water.
Medical sources reported that so far five residents have arrived dead at Kamal Adwan hospital, and a countless number of people are injured. Palestinian rescue teams stated that the death toll may rise, since there are homes that are completely under water with the residents still inside them.
The village of Um Al Nassr was established in 1999 for Palestinian Bedouins to settle in. It is located between the Israeli and Gaza borders, and the village was heavily attacked by the army due to its close location to nearby Israeli settlements which were evacuated in the disengagement plan in 2005.
The Israeli army has continued to attacked the village even after the disengagement plan. The Palestinian environment ministry has issued a number of warnings to the local government offices and municipalities near the village warning that due to the Israeli army's continuous shelling of the sewage holding pools and the lack of maintenance, the dams around the holding pools would soon collapse, a threat that came true today.
So far, all available Palestinian rescue teams and medical teams are in the area in an attempt to minimize the damage and the human losses. Security forces were also sent there to help in the rescue operation, Palestinian officials stated.
The poverty-stricken unemployed residents who live in tin houses blamed the local municipality for not solving the problem before this disaster took place. The villagers a mostly shepherds or workers in Israel. Many of them are suffering from the spread of disease as a result of their homes having been repeatedly flooded by sewage water in the past years. The residents reported that this flooding is due to the lack of Palestinian Authority assistance recieved by the area.
Palestinian Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasmi rushed to the village to survey the damage but he came under attack from angry gunmen. The gunmen fired shots over his head, local witnesses reported, and Qawasmi was whisked to safety in a police car.