Gaza Water Undrinkable, Running Out

Gaza Water Undrinkable, Running OutGaza Water Undrinkable, Running Out

More than 90% of the Gaza Strip’s water is undrinkable. The rest is quickly running out. A combination of factors is rapidly depriving the population of this most basic need.

Just one fresh water source exists today, according to the locals – a coastal aquifer underground that is shared with Israel and Egypt. But Gaza is situated downstream and Palestinians say Israel is employing water deprivation as a tactic against the civilian population, reports.

The grim water statistics are part of a recent UN report on Gaza, which says the Strip will become uninhabitable by 2020. A number of reasons compound the problems, according to the document by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Gaza Strip’s GDP dropped 15% in 2014, with 72% of households suffering extremely low food security and unemployment at a record high of 44%. Further stress was added by relentless Israeli assaults. With three military operations in the last six years, coupled with eight years of economic blockade, prospects for recovery are very bleak.

The UN says 500,000 people have been displaced in Gaza as a result of last year’s Israeli operation alone. More than 20,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed, and 148 schools and 15 hospitals and 45 primary health-care centers were severely damaged. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

But worse still is when the populace is deprived of the prime source of life – water. Without it, no reconstruction and no rebuilding of lives can take place. Medicine, sanitation, hygiene and crucial facilities that depend on water all suffer.

“The last war on Gaza resulted in the destruction of some of the infrastructure, the water holes and the pumping stations were heavily hit. More than 50% of the water infrastructure could not be accessed,” said Mahmoud Elkhafif, UNCTAD’s special coordinator for assistance to the Palestinian people.

“Russia Today’s Lizzie Phelan tasted what remains of the Strip’s water for herself: “This coffee tastes like it has salt not sugar. That’s because the water that’s used to make it – like much of Gaza’s water – is contaminated with sea water.”

Tiny kids suffer from cramps and colic – a syndrome commonly associated with stomach infections.

Salt isn’t the only problem. The water supplied is also full of nitrate – a carcinogenic. The levels rose even higher last year, during Israel’s bombardment of sewage pipes and clean water pipes. Now, the two chemicals have mixed.