GAZA CITY -- It has been raining hard for a week in the coastal enclave -- a blessing for farmers and parched aquifers, but a curse for those who lost their homes in the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

With 100,000 housing units partially damaged or destroyed, according to the United Nations, thousands of Palestinians in Gaza are still sleeping in classrooms and sheltering in the ruins of their gutted houses and apartment buildings.

Samira Shamali, 34, noticed a journalist Thursday trying to take photographs, and called out, "Look! Our life has become miserable!”

She said, “I used to love the winter season when my family would gather indoors and share food and have fun, but all of this is gone, we are busy now of covering the house of plastic and curse the winter and the rain.”

The streets are flooded, and life is miserable, say many. The economy is in the tank, and international aid projects have been suspended -- and despite $5.4 billion pledged by nations and donors at a conference in Cairo in October, reconstruction has not really begun.

While the people in Gaza are facing the floods, the two Palestinian political rivals, Fatah and the Islamist militant movement Hamas, are trading accusations over who is really in charge of Gaza and who is to blame for shortfalls in services.

Building materials, which must pass through Israel, arrive in a trickle. Unless the pace quickens, the United Nations and aid organizations warn it will take 20 years at the current rate to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

The streets are so flooded with rain that children believe it is the Mediterranean Sea rising up. Parents carry them on their backs to cross the streets.

Along the shoreline in Gaza City, where the Beach Refugee Camp is located, both men and women are trying to stop the water and mud with plastic garbage bags filled with sand.

A civil defense worker who was helping people stuck in the flooded streets said, "this year it is worse than last year as the infrastructure of Gaza is weaker and more damaged, without real help by all parties, the situation will be catastrophic."

Hazem Balousha is based in Gaza.