March 27, 2007



From The Jerusalem Post: Gaza: At least six dead in flooding from sewage breach. (via Little Green Footballs)

At least six people were killed Tuesday when the wall of a large cesspool collapsed, flooding the northern Gaza Beduin village of Umm Naser with mud and raw sewage, Palestinian medical officials said.

The officials said dozens were injured and missing, with some saying up to 10 people were killed. The rest of the village's 3,000 residents fled or were evacuated by rescue crews.

A 70-year-old woman, two toddlers and a teenage girl died in the sudden flood, and 25 people were injured, said Dr. Muawiya Hassanin of the Palestinian Health Ministry. ...

Rescue crews and Hamas gunmen rushed to the area to search for people feared buried under the slide of sewage and mud. ...

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear. A local Palestinian official blamed the disaster on shoddy infrastructure and UN officials said they had been warning of a catastrophe for more than two years. ...

Stuart Shepard, of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the wave of waste released Tuesday sent the health risks even higher. ...

Shepard said that since the report was published, international funding for a new plant had been secured but construction had not been able to go ahead because of the high security risks in the area.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum blamed international "sanctions against Palestinians, including Gaza and the West Bank" for the condition of Gaza's infrastructure. Most foreign donors froze aid to the Palestinian government after Hamas swept to power in a 2006 general election, but Shepard said the Umm Naser project had not been affected by the boycott. ...

Abu Safia explained that the lagoon which collapsed is a smaller one built to relieve pressure from the larger pool. He says there are plans to change the infrastructure in the area, and construction began two years ago with foreign aid, but several more years, and more money, are needed. The recent political sanctions of the PA have slowed down the work, he added.

"Foreign experts are unable to come to Gaza," he said. ..

Several major sewage treatment projects funded by foreign donors, including one in Umm Naser, were frozen after Hamas won elections last year.

UPDATE I -- March 28: From The Jerusalem Post: 7 Kassams launched from Gaza Strip. (via LGFer bob tail)

Seven Kassam rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning.

No casualties were reported in any of the incidents, but agricultural produce from farms south of Ashkelon sustained damage.

UPDATE II: Here is a story from earlier this month that demonstrates how this cartoon is literally true. From The Jerusalem Post: Israeli metal used for Kassam rockets. (via Elder of Ziyon and Soccer Dad)

A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who worked as a metal merchant at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Strip was arrested by the Shin Bet last month for allegedly selling pipes he bought in Israel to terrorist groups that used them to manufacture Kassams, it was released for publication on Sunday.

On February 9, the Shin Bet arrested Amar Azk, 37. During his interrogation, he confessed selling the pipes to Hamas and other terrorist organizations that manufactured Kassam rockets, fired almost daily at Israel. ...

The pipes that were sold to Zak were intended for the construction of a sewage system in Gaza.

Posted by Forkum at March 27, 2007 05:37 PM