This past weekend (December 11-14), an intense winter storm hit the region. Israel, Gaza and the West Bank all suffered from severe infrastructural problems, flooding and other severe, weather-related events. The IDF and COGAT have worked to provide assistance to civilians in need wherever possible.
THE CIVIL COORDINATION DEPARTMENT
Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories
Ministry of Defense, State of Israel
The Gaza Strip
Israel helped international organizations transfer aid to Palestinians in the wake of the storm and authorized the opening of crossings for the passage of fuel and equipment to reduce flooding in the Gaza Strip.
In total, 1.2 million liters of fuel were transferred through Israel’s Kerem Shalom Crossing into Gaza. The fuel included 800,000 liters of diesel fuel for transportation, 400,000 liters of diesel fuel for Gaza’s power station, and another 200 tons of household gas.
Israel provided the following assistance to the Gaza Strip in order to mitigate damage from the recent severe storm:
- Kerem Shalom was opened specially on Friday (13 Dec.) to allow 5 tankers containing 110 tons of cooking gas to enter the Gaza Strip.
- Also on Friday, four water pumps, belonging to “Mekorot”, the Israeli water company, entered the Gaza Strip and are currently being operated in the cities and towns and of Rafah, Sheikh Reduan and Khan Younis.
- On Sunday (15 Dec.), the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing was open for the first time ever for human passage. Sixteen people entered Gaza including international aid workers and medical patients returning from treatment in Israel. Two individuals also entered Israel through the crossing. Additionally, two ambulance transfers took place at the crossing.
- Also on Sunday, large volumes of fuel and supplies entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom including:
* 241 tons of cooking gas
* 223,000 liters of benzene fuel
* 763,000 liters of diesel fuel
* Two trucks of emergency supplies donated by the ICRC
* 148 trucks of consumer goods.
- UNRWA and the World Food Program have been distributing emergency supplies (including food rations) throughout the Gaza Strip.
COGAT remains ready to provide assistance to organizations wishing to transfer aid and supplies to Gaza.
Patients returning to Gaza from treatment in Israel
Fuel supplied to Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing
The West Bank
Measures taken by the IDF and COGAT to assist the civilian population and mitigate damages in the West Bank from the storm include:
- Assistance in fixing power outages around the West Bank in cooperation with the Israeli Electrical Company.
- On Friday (13 Dec), numerous Palestinians trapped in their cars around the Migdalim Intersection (Nablus) were rescued by the IDF.
- On Saturday (14 Dec), the IDF assisted in an extraction of an on-duty Palestinian ambulance trapped by weather conditions near the Jewish community of Ofra.
- Also on Saturday, the IDF provided aid in the evacuation of three pregnant Palestinian women stuck on Road 35 near Hebron, even offering a helicopter for the evacuation of one of the women who had entered into labor.
- On Sunday (15 Dec), the snow-covered access road to the Nebi-Samuel village was cleared by IDF vehicles. Soldiers and officers from COGAT’s Jerusalem Periphery District Coordination and Liaison unit distributed food rations and supplies to the residents.
- Assistance to many Palestinians stranded in their cars in the Ramallah district, as well as the opening of the Courthouse Crossing 24 hours a day in order to allow passage for humanitarian cases.