SNOW AND OLIVE TREES
December 30, 2013,
December 30, 2013,
Snow, rains, floods in Palestine, what about the farmers?
The heavy rains and snows that hit Palestine with fierce storm Alexa in mid-December were rare. Thank you all for asking about our farmers during this cold winter. Here is the report:
There was heavy snow on the higher elevations near Ramallah and Nablus, rain everywhere else, and widespread electrical shortages. Vegetable farmers lost crops, and the price of vegetables went up in the markets. But olive and almond trees came through the storm okay, and though the winter isn't over and it is too early to tell, the farmers are looking forward to good crops next season.
Specifically, farmers in the higher elevations had broken branches – up to 60% of olive trees, and 90% of trees with bigger leaves like lemon and other fruit trees were damaged. 7 PFTA cooperatives were affected by heavy snow: 'Asira al Shamaliya, Shaka, 'Arura, Mazari' Ennubani, Deir Ballout, Sebastiya, and Nus Jbeil. Since farmers prune their olive trees regularly, they hope to find new branches will emerge to carry future harvests.
Farmers in the north didn't see any snow, just plentiful rain, and the farmers were happy because rain is always good for trees since Palestine has no access to their underground water.
The almond farmers said frost is good for almonds, they require a certain amount of cold to produce good almonds. And frost is a natural pesticide for trees!
In spite of the cold (no electricity meant no heat for many villages for 4 to 5 days), children and their parents played in the snow (many for the first time in their lives) and Facebook was filled with snow pictures and snowmen. Palestine is now sunny and cold, but they hear there is another storm coming in January.
For those in the refugee camps, or tents, or beduins, the cold and dark continue. Gaza was flooded and many home first floors were underwater. This would be an emergency in any country even without the blockade that has reduced electricity to a few hours a day.
Please help where you can, put pressure on Israel and Egypt to open the Gaza borders and let help in.