[Friday, December 20, 2013] Areas of the Gaza Strip are still struggling to cope with severe flooding of homes and businesses, reports +972.According to Gaza City residents, local government was slow to respond, with few available resources and showing little evidence of advanced planning. Most immediate assistance was provided by community members, in the form of fishing boats and other makeshift watercraft for rescuing people from their homes.

Palestinian police and local officials coordinated efforts, this week, in order to help families recover belongings from their homes, as well as restricting access to flooded neighborhoods to deter looters. Prior to the storm, 12-hour blackouts and lack of fuel to run generators had limited the ability of civil defense forces to pump water from the flooded areas. The severe conditions inflicted on trade by the Israeli siege, with cooperation from Egypt, were somewhat relieved by 450,000 liters of fuel, paid for by Qatar to restart Gaza’s power plant.

Only two people are reported to have died in the storms, with others only suffering light injuries. Still, the UN estimates that more than 10,000 people have been displaced throughout the region.