Besieged Palestinian enclave seeks international help after landfill in Juhr al Deek area near the barrier with Israel catches fire.
Gaza officials have called for international help to extinguish a fire that started in a landfill in a village near the fence with Israel, saying it could last for days and cause “an environmental catastrophe”.
A large cloud of heavy smoke billowed into the sky as night fell on Thursday, and there was a strong smell of burning rubbish across Gaza City.
The fire started “in the eastern part of a landfill in Juhr al Deek, southeast of Gaza City, near the separation fence, for reasons that have yet to be confirmed,” the Gaza municipality said in a statement.
“We fear the fire might spread across the landfill and result in an environmental catastrophe.”
Local fire crews did not have the capacity to cope with the blaze, it added.
The authority called on international organisations to help put out the blaze, and for international pressure on Israel to lift a blockade to let equipment in.
Israel has enforced a blockade of Gaza from land, air and sea since 2007, restricting the movement of people and goods.
Palestinians say these restrictions have severely impeded their ability to respond to emergencies.
Last November, a fire broke out in a residential building in a refugee camp in the north of the besieged enclave, killing 21 members of a family and injuring several others.
Witnesses said they could hear screaming but they could not reach the victims to offer help because of the intensity of the fire.
READ: Palestine declares day of mourning after fire kills 21 in Gaza