RAMALLAH, February 21, 2015 (WAFA) – The Palestinian territories are recovering from the aftermath of the currently subsiding snowstorm that pummeled the region on Thursday.
Presidential Secretary-General At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim stated that the Palestinian state managed to recover from the aftermath of the snowstorm, named Jana, thanks to the experience acquired by the Palestinian Civil Defense and cooperation among security services, municipalities and citizens.
A major snowstorm pummeled the region on Thursday, leaving hilltops shrouded in snow and forcing schools, universities, public departments and businesses to close.
Blizzards started late Thursday and continued into the early Friday morning, cloaking hilltops across the region in white, forcing main transportation arteries to close.
Snow started to fall Thursday afternoon in areas with an elevation of over 800 meters above sea level, including Ramallah and Hebron.
As frigid temperatures continued to drop, snow fell at areas with an elevation of around 400 meters above sea level, hitting Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nablus.
As temperatures slightly rose Saturday, the snowstorm mostly subsided except on areas with an elevation of over 800 meters above sea level, such as Bethlehem, Beit Jala, al-Khader and Beit Fajjar towns.
In anticipation of the storm, Palestinian authorities ordered a preemptive shutdown of public institutions, universities and schools at Thursday noon in order to ensure that residents could return to their homes before the storm started.
Authorities issued warnings urging residents to remain indoors and advising them against driving their vehicles in the snow except in emergency situations.
In order to deal with the consequences of the snowstorm, authorities formed ‘central operation rooms’ and placed municipal and Civil Defense personnel on high alert to open all major transportation arteries that could be blocked by snow.
Residents were urged to adhere to safety instructions during the snowstorm and to avoid parking their vehicles on the sides of main roads so that Civil Defense and municipal vehicles could clear snow.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Housing and Public Works announced Saturday that main roads across the West Bank were reopened.
In Jenin, for example, the snowstorm caused considerable material losses, destroying greenhouses, livestock barns and poultry farms.
According to Head of Jenin Agriculture Department Wajdi Bsharat, the snowstorm wrecked havoc to greenhouses covering at least a 15-dunum area, collapsing the metal frames and scattering plastic sheets.
It caused a livestock barn in Jaba‘, a town to the south of the city, to collapse and destroyed greenhouses covering a 20-dunum area.
Internally-displaced persons in the Gaza Strip bore the brunt of the storm. Around 100,000 people were left homeless after their houses were demolished during the latest Israeli onslaught on the war-torn coastal enclave. The tents that such people have been living in collapsed and suffered extensive damage.