Monday, April 03, 2006

 

'Natural' disaster claims lives due to the wall

There was heavy rain in Palestine last Saturday. The valley in between the villages of Bil'in and Safa was flooded and I went there with reports of one Palestinian dead and another missing. Soon after arriving I was informed that the one that was supposedly dead was actually just in hospital and the other was still missing.

In the valley I talked to locals who said that the car had been stopped on the bridge due to rain water rising above bridge level. The 4 passengers in the car got out to push and two were swept up in the current. The rain levels were high but they were unusually high as hundreds of meters away the recently constructed section of the apartheid wall acted as a dam preventing the water from being dispersed. It also looked like erosion caused by construction would have also prevented water from being absorbed into the soil.

I climbed across the side of the valley with Palestinians who were searching for Eyad Tahar the missing Palestinian.

While I was walking back and forward across the valley, Palestinians discovered the body caught on razor wire under water. Not only did the damning effect of the wall contribute to Tahar's being swept away but he probably drowned because he couldn't resurface because his body was caught on the wire. There was no sign of major cuts or bruises indicating that he made it to the razor wire without getting injured meaning that he probably could have survived had he been able to resurface. When I was finally confronted with the body the Palestinians had covered it with a shroud but his hands were pointing upwards as thought they had been locked into that position when the oxygen left his body.

It was the first time I has seen a dead body but it was clear from the reactions of Palestinians around me that they were so used to seeing deaths like this as an everyday occurrence.

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