Palestine: Extreme Weather Conditions - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation MDRPS011

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Extreme weather conditions have hit the West Bank and Gaza Strip starting on Saturday 18/1/2020 including heavy rain floods, winds, and low-temperature cold wave. The heavy rain generated floods in several part of Palestine and thousands of people were affected with many families being evacuated from their homes. The extreme weather conditions resulted in the deaths of 3 people; two in the Gaza Strip and one in Jerusalem due to the heavy rains and flooding.

The weather events have deeply affected local communities, particularly in the Gaza Strip where thousands of people already remain displaced and live in semi-structured or transitional shelters or tents due to loss of their homes during the recent escalation in hostilities. For the first time in the Gaza Strip, the temperature approached zero at night at a time where it is not possible to operate the heating systems due to electricity cuts. Furthermore, gas stations in the Gaza Strip had insufficient fuel to provide to people to operate their own generators. Additionally, vendors providing cooking gas had insufficient stock.

In the West Bank especially the Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley, communities living close to the Israeli separation wall, as well as vulnerable communities residing specifically in the old cities and areas close to streams across the West Bank such as Hebron, Jerusalem, Jenin, Qalqilia, Ramallah, Tubas, and Nablus have been affected by the heavy rain fall. The cold wave was exceptional in its nature, with very strong winds and rains, and temperatures (approx. 3C) which were uncharacteristically low for Palestine.

Based on the weather forecast which included storms, on the 13th January, the Palestinian Government has called for “collaboration and common efforts to support the affected populations to face the current challenges”. As Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is a member of the High Council of Civil Defence, and due to its auxiliary role, it subsequently responded to the humanitarian needs.