Erez Crossing closed following collapse of connecting bridge in stormy weather

Flooding in the Az-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. Photo: Mohammed Azaiza for Gisha

December 15, 2013. The Erez Crossing, connecting Gaza to Israel, is closed today following stormy weather which caused the collapse of a pedestrian bridge between the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the crossing. It is not clear if the crossing will open tomorrow. Israel agreed to allow Palestinians in need of urgent medical treatment to cross at Kerem Shalom, usually reserved for passage of goods, however, until now, no individuals have crossed.

Flooding in the Strip caused heavy damage to approximately half of the strawberry fields in Gaza. Full estimates of the damage to the crop will be carried out and are as of yet unknown. The size of the fields is about 800 dunam (almost 200 acres or .8 square kilometers) with a projected output for the season of about 700 tons of fruit designated for export. 

The power plant returned to partial activity for the first time since November 1st following a $10 million donation by Qatar to the Palestinian Authority for the purchase of industrial diesel for the plant. The plant will operate partially according to the available supply of fuel. Power outages, which reached up to 20 hours per day in certain areas over the past days, are expected to shorten in length gradually as the plant returns to partial activity.

Kerem Shalom Crossing will be open exceptionally this week from 6am to 6pm in order to accommodate incoming trucks of goods, namely fuel and cooking gas. Today, 450,000 liters of industrial diesel were transferred via the crossing for the power plant. The crossing was also open exceptionally last Friday for passage of cooking gas and water pumps.