Middle East region lashed by inclement weather

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Middle East region lashed by inclement weather

by AFP Videos 0:54 mins

Middle East region lashed by inclement weather

by AFP Videos 0:54 mins

SHOTLIST: GAZA CITY, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, DECEMBER 13, 2013. SOURCE: AFPTV SOUNDBITE 1 - Kamal Al-Arabi (man), resident of the affected area (Arabic, 11 sec): "We call on the world to rescue us. We have been standing on rooftops all night long, since 10 pm. We are besieged by water. From the rooftops, we appeal to the world." SOUNDBITE 2 - Abdul Rahman al-Harazin (man), resident of the affected area (Arabic, 8 sec): "Many people cannot leave the area. They are trapped. There are people who do not know how to get out. Until now, only 5 percent of the area's residents have been able to leave." - VAR of fishing boats used to rescue residents in the area of Al-Nafak, Gaza City - VAR of Gaza City's flooded streets - VAR of volunteers making sandbanks to stop the water - VAR of homes submerged in water -HEBRON, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, DECEMBER 13, 2013. SOURCE: AFPTV - General view of Hebron covered in snow - VAR of children fighting in the snow KAFRDEBIAN, LEBANON, DECEMBER 13, 2013. SOURCE: AFPTV - VAR of the mountains of Kfardebian coated in snow - VAR of Faqra castle in the snow /// ----------------------------------------------------- Jerusalem locked down by fiercest snowstorm in years Jerusalem (Undefined) - 13 December 2013 11:36 - AFP - The hilltop city of Jerusalem was paralysed on Friday by its fiercest snowstorm in years, with its mayor calling out the army to help stranded motorists. "We are battling a storm of rare ferocity," Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement as snow in the Holy City piled up to around 37 centimetres (15 inches), while outlying areas had much deeper drifts. Main roads into the Holy City, which climb around 795 metres (2,600 feet) above sea level were closed and police appealed to drivers not to attempt the journey. Temperatures in the city were predicted to reach a high of two degrees celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) during Friday and drop below freezing at night, with the snowfall that started on Thursday continuing into Saturday. Schools were closed for a second day and most residents appeared to be heeding advice to stay at home. "We have asked people living in Jerusalem not to drive in private cars unless they have four-wheel-drive because of the danger on icy streets," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. He said that by mid-morning police had been called to help about 1,500 drivers in the city and on the roads leading to it. He said about 1,000 stranded travellers were given shelter at the Jerusalem International Conference Centre on the city's western edge. Young and old, ultra-Orthodox Jews and secular Israelis were camped on mattresses in the centre, many of them glued to mobile devices as they watched for news of a change in the weather, an AFP photographer said. Rosenfeld said that another 400-500 people had been taken to the Ofer military base on the northeastern road into Jerusalem. "Only when the storm has eased can we start clearing roadways," Barkat said. "We are at the moment using all means to rescue those caught in the storm." Ramallah and Bethlehem, Palestinian cities near Jerusalem, were also coated in snow and some lower-lying areas suffered flooding from heavy rain. The Gaza Strip was lashed by torrential rain for a third day, and its Hamas rulers said on Friday that so far residents had been evacuated from 60 flooded homes since storms hit the coastal territory on Wednesday. scw-my-pix/tl

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