Countries count the costs of damage as Mideast storm recedes
Palestinian civil defense volunteers help people to travel across flood waters in Gaza City following rain storms for the past few days, on December 14, 2013. [Getty Images]
As a winter storm sweeping the Middle East begins to recede on Sunday, the countries affected are counting the costs of the damage snowstorm Alexa has caused.
The storm has added to the plight of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, due to fuel and food shortages.
At least 12 Syrian refugee children have frozen to death, as the cold snap took a toll on 2.3 million refugees living outside the crisis-torn country and 6.5 million people displaced within the country.
In the Palestinian territories, snow piled up to around 37cm in Jerusalem, and settled deeper in the city’s outlying areas. Gaza officials have said the storm has amounted to $64 million losses as schools and offices were closed.
Israel began transferring fuel to Gaza's sole power plant on Sunday, a Palestinian official told Agence France-Presse, as the Hamas-ruled enclave struggled to deal with massive flooding caused by winter downpours.
Many areas hit by the fiercest winter storm in decades were cut off by heavy snowfall, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without power.
In Egypt, many Egyptians saw snow for the first time in their lives. In the Sinai Peninsula, the storm deposited a blanket of snow several inches thick in the mountainous area around Saint Catherine's monastery for the first time in decades.
In Jordan, airlines suspended their trips and many roads were blocked in the capital. Armed forces have intervened to reopen the roads. The directorate of general security also advised citizens to remain indoors as there have also been a series of flash floods.
Stormy weather also snow and heavy rains to Saudi Arabia, where the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment expected on Saturday a sharp decrease in temperatures for another week. Al-Lawz Mountain in Tabuk, near the Jordanian border, was partially covered in snow.