Tags: snow | israel | holy | land

Snow in Israel: Holy Land Gets 20 Inches, Syrian Refugees in Trouble

Image: Snow in Israel: Holy Land Gets 20 Inches, Syrian Refugees in Trouble A couple clears snow in the Druze village of Beit Jann on Mt. Meron in the Galilee, northern Israel.

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 04:28 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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An unusual and intense snow storm in Israel that started last week dropped 20 inches of snow on the Holy Land, covering Jerusalem and nearby areas and creating miserable conditions for Syrian refugees.

Some people got out and enjoyed the unusual weather brought by the storm named Alexa, building snowmen and having snowball fights in Jerusalem, but Syrian refugee camps in the Mediterranean flooded and freezing temperatures exacerbated terrible conditions.

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“We have come from one tragedy to another,” a refugee shivering with two daughters in a flooded trailer told Reuters.

Aid agencies were trying to evacuate refugees and get food and clothing distributed, but they couldn’t keep up.

"These people need much more in terms of preparations for winter and organizations are doing their best, but winter conditions are harsh," Saba Mobaslat of Save the Children International told the news agency.

The challenging conditions were widespread as the storm began last Wednesday and continued to the weekend. Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and other areas were struggling to find ways to care for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, many living in tents, Reuters said.

Even with the unusually heavy snow, fighting continued in Syria.

In Jerusalem, the city was “paralyzed” by almost 2 feet of snow, The Associated Press said. About 40,000 people in the Gaza Strip had to leave their homes because of flooding. The area will often go several winters without getting snow, and was not prepared for a storm of this level.

Numerous people were without electricity and schools were shut down late last week, the AP said.

A blog on Haarretz.com showed the creative side of people in Jerusalem who were dealing with the storm in the best way they knew. Using snow, artists sculpted a variety of artwork in the city, including a bride and groom that many people came to see and take pictures with. But the temporary nature of the medium – temperatures went above freezing Sunday – made the pair a short-term sensation.

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