Gaza Refugees Suffering from Rain, Mice

The rain has not been kind to the Gush Katif expellees in Nitzan. Many of their homes are unhinhabitable. Sela blames the expellees themselves.

Gil Ronen ,

Nitzan caravillas.
Nitzan caravillas.

The Gush Katif expellees once endured Kassams and terrorist tunnels. Now they have other things raining on them and burrowing under them.

Families that were forcibly evicted from Gush Katif in 2005 and relocated in "caravillas" in the community of Nitzan have asked the "Sela" disengagement authority to provide them with alternative housing, after the rain damaged their homes in recent days and made them uninhabitable.

The "caravillas" are upgraded temporary pre-fab homes. According to Nrg, the rain and sleet Israel has been experiencing in the past few days caused serious damage to many of them. Water is leaking from the ceilings and floors, and in some cases has caused short circuits and blackouts.

Amateurish construction
Yigal Kirshenzaft, who was evicted from Atzmona to Nitzan, said: "Everything here was built very amateurishly. When the storm had just started, our house's ceiling began dripping rain down on us. In last night's tempest, the whole caravilla moved, the roof banged and the children couldn't sleep at night. That is why they didn't go to school. We felt like a ship at sea."

"Because of the amateurish construction," Kirshenzaft explained, "the windows and doors are not sealed and they move all the time. Even air conditioners that work 24 hours a day can't warm the house. This week, because of the water that leaked in, we had a power outage in half of the house. We spoke to Amigur (a subsidiary company of the Jewish Agency which provides housing solutions) but no one came to fix it. We just had to dry it out on our own, and wait for the sun to come out and help us."

Of mice and men
'In last night's tempest, the whole caravilla moved, the roof banged and the children couldn't sleep at night.'

"Yesterday I turned to the Sela administration and asked to receive alternative housing. If the children and I can't sleep at night and we have a river flowing through this cardboard box called a caravilla, I want them to give me another place instead of the one they took away from me."

"No one is helping us," Kirshenzaft said. "Amigur told us it was the council's responsibility, the council referred us to the Housing Ministry and the Housing Ministry referred us to the Sela administration.

"This rain also helps our biggest enemies here: the mice. When the walls are cardboard and wet, the mice gnaw through them even more easily and enter the home. We spend entire nights chasing the mice. There is a terrible plague of mice; mousetraps are the hottest item in the grocery store."

Sela: illegal homes
Doron Ben Shlomi, chairman of the Gush Katif Settlers Council, told Nrg: "The winter has given the state of Israel yet another failing mark in the way it treated the Gush Katif expellees. The bad
'When the walls are cardboard and wet, the mice gnaw through them even more easily and enter the home.'
conditions… are a direct result of the government's treatment of the expellees. This is the third winter in which they are living in plaster homes, and their move to permanent housing seems further away than ever." In the meantime, he said, it is the government which must fix the houses, immediately."

The Sela Administration said: "the flooding is caused by the illegal homes placed in the location by expellees who are not eligible for temporary housing. The structures changed the drainage flow and are causing the flooding. Despite that, the Sela Administration, together with the Housing Ministry, is taking care of the matter to avoid further discomfort to the evacuees. The Sela Administration once again calls upon the temporary housing residents to take charge of their destiny, sign the agreements and start planning their permanent homes.