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As temperatures soar, Gazans struggle to beat the heat

As temperatures soar, Gazans struggle to beat the heat


Reuters
GAZA
As Middle East summer temperatures soar above 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), Gazans are struggling to stay cool amid a power crisis, with less than four hours of electricity a day and little chance to run fans and air-conditioners.
The power crisis is affecting health and sanitation - because sewage treatment plants can't run, raw sewage is pouring into the Mediterranean - and now the elderly and sick are desperately trying to handle the heat. Plastic trays and scraps of cardboard are doubling as hand-held fans. Precious piped water is hosed over children and work animals. Those trying to sleep have abandoned clammy mattresses, preferring the relative cool of bare tiled floors.
A family excursion to the beach that might elsewhere have been a delight was, for Sabah Joudah, a forced decision, especially when having to put up with the sewage problems.
"We came here to entertain the children, even though the sea is polluted,"she told Reuters as the dirty surf lapped close by."It is summer and there is no electricity; no water and no fans are working in our homes. It is very tough, very tough."
Environment officials say disruptions at sewage treatment facilities have meant more than 100,000 litres of untreated wastewater is discharged along the coast daily. Around 75 percent of the seawater is polluted.
Swimming there frequently leaves children with skin inflammations and abdominal complaints, parents say.
In the southern town of Khan Younis, a woman bathed her children in a bucket in the street, while a man doused his horse with water.
One Khan Younis couple, the Abu Mehsens, both suffer from high blood pressure and said they were so beleaguered by the heat that simply fanning themselves could be too much effort.
"When we get tired we rest for a bit before we start fanning again,"Jihan Abu Mehsen said."We do so all day long."
The situation has hurt Gaza's meagre retail sector, with vendors saying that sales of electrical appliances have tanked. One exception has been cheap rechargeable fans, which can be stored, with full batteries, in anticipation of the power cuts.

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