Wednesday the storm started and the rain was fairly constant but it wasn’t as bad as people had said it would be.I was not worried after all- we needed the rain. Farmers were talking about how the drought would affect crops. Unfortunately overnight the storm grew stronger and the winds started to rage. My windows shook and I could hear metal being blown around outside. When I woke up in the morning it was bitter cold and the electricity was still off. A thick blanket of fog covered the Seaport and you could hear the waves crashing hard against the sea wall and beach.
I tried to take pictures but could only get a few shots before I ran back inside and under covers.
Most of the day I spent bundled up drinking hot tea. Water soon started coming in my windows- forced in by the driving winds. I put as many towels as I could to sop up the mess but it was a losing battle. My kitchen and laundry room were also taking on some water and every hour I was mopping it up trying to keep up with water coming in. Ironically there was water in my house from the storm yet none in my pipes. We had only 45 minutes of electricity that day so it was expected.The temperatures were dipping all the way down to freezing and reports of snow in some places in North Gaza for the first time in 30+ years. Gaza does not have municipal gas lines and homes are not equipped with heating like in the West. Our only source of heat are space heaters and without electricity that was impossible. Even making a fire was out of the question because all of the wood was drenched and the wind was fierce.
Flooding started to increase and thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes. The rain reservoirs were unable to take on more water and it started to inundate areas. UN schools were opened and people were able to have a dry place to escape to. Many of these people will be without homes now after this storm. In some places ‘homes’ are merely a few pieces of corrugated metal and the wind and water have demolished them.
By Saturday I was beginning to think the rain and wind would never stop. I was cold and disheartened only getting from under the covers to mop up water and make hot tea. I was thankful to still have a roof over my head though. Seeing pictures of the flooded areas broke my heat. How much more can Gaza take? If we are not being pounded by bombs we are getting battered by a storm! Even with all this the Israeli ‘army’ shot and killed one man near the border and injured another picking potatoes.
The only good news is how people here are helping one another through this. Mosques and other charities are taking donations of food and warm clothes to help those who have lost everything. People in Gaza have always faced hardships and I guess this storm was just another one to get through.