Erez Crossing closed since Thursday

Approximately 100,000 people were left homeless. Photo: Gisha

Approximately 100,000 people were left homeless. Photo: Gisha

January 11, 2015. Erez Crossing closed last Thursday, January 8, following a disagreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is operating only for exceptional cases: Medical patients, Israeli citizens, and UNDP and UNRWA staff. According to Palestinian sources, the crossing was closed after Hamas placed a container on the Palestinian side of the crossing designed to be used as an office for its employees. The container is said to obstruct passage, and both Israel and the PA objected to its installation. PA employees on the Palestinian side of Erez refuse to work until the container is removed. Gisha calls on all parties to immediately resolve the matter, which is impacting on the civilian population and its ability to travel.

The storm

It was reported that three Palestinians, two infants and one man, died due to the cold temperatures over the weekend in the Gaza Strip, after a storm hit the area. Approximately 100,000 people were left homeless following Operation Protective Edge.  Gaza residents are currently experiencing about 15 hours of electricity outages per day and also a shortage of cooking gas.

Flooding occurred in the area of Khan Yunis, where caravans were set up for people otherwise without shelter. Also, the Obeida neighborhood in the Rafah area was flooded and firefighters rescued residents by boat. Many of the residents whose homes were damaged in the fighting, particularly in eastern Gaza, tried to block rainwater with plastic sheeting. Makeshift dams from sand were built in an attempt to prevent further flooding.

Since the ceasefire, from August 26 until the end of 2014, 196,404 tons of construction material entered the Strip. Of this amount, 34,570 tons entered as a part of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, the inspection process established by the Palestinians and Israel under UN supervision.

Here is a breakdown of the construction materials that entered via Kerem Shalom during the period August 26 – December 31, 2014:

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Five million tons of construction materials are needed in the Strip for rebuilding following the hostilities this past summer and also from cumulative need. The amount of materials that entered Gaza over the last four months represents about 3.9 percent of total need.