Palestinian Water Authority Announces a Water Crisis and Environmental Disaster in Gaza
Gaza, (Palestine Telegraph) – The Palestinian Water Authority announced that the Gaza Strip is suffering from both a water crisis and overall environmental disaster, due to the almost complete lack of provision of water and sanitation services to its more than 1.8 million residents. In a press conference held on Thursday in Shifa Hospital, Gaza, Rubhi Al Shaikh, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Water Authority, stated: “The complete shutdown of Gaza’s power plant and lack of electricity generation, and the run out of our fuel storage, has made it impossible for us to fulfill our responsibilities, and has led to our inability to provide a drinking water supply to our residents, hospitals, and shelters.” On the morning of July 29, the only power station in Gaza was destroyed and rendered nonfunctional, after it was targeted by Israeli airstrikes. Israeli strikes targeting the main electrical transformers caused the stop in provision of electricity from Israel to Gaza, which has contributed to the complete blackout the Gaza Strip is currently experiencing. Al Shaikh called for the international community, the United Nations, UNRWA, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and human rights organizations to respond to this crisis as quickly as possible, to “address this crisis and prevent a catastrophe because of the lack of water due to the continued Israeli war on Gaza which has lasted for over 27 days.” He also called for proper protection of crews working to provide water and sanitation to Gaza’s residents. He brought attention to the fact that six water and sanitation workers have been killed by Israeli attacks while they tried to perform their jobs. He also confirmed that there have been extensive damages to water and sewage networks and facilities, in addition to the damage of vehicles owned by the Palestinian Water Authority, and that they are unable to make the necessary repairs to these networks and facilities due to continuous attacks by Israel. And he said: “It is up to international organizations, the United Nations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories to stand by their responsibilities, and help provide the necessary protection of water and sanitation work crews so they can begin to repair the damages to the water networks and get drinking water to residents.” In attempts to stop the launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel, and to destroy the underground tunnels between Gaza and Israel, the Israeli military has conducted air, ground, and sea attacks on the Gaza Strip since July 8, killing 1,440 civilians, and injuring over 8,000 others.