The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has issued a fact sheet on the occupation authorities ’tightening of the siege on the Gaza Strip and its humanitarian repercussions, especially the crisis of drinking water cuts in light of the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in the Gaza Strip.
The paper aimed to shed light on the crisis of water cuts and depriving the population of obtaining their need for water, which constitutes an important factor in preventing the epidemic, as promoting hygiene and personal hygiene, and in particular frequent hand washing protects against the risk of infection.
The paper emphasized that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is witnessing a serious deterioration as a result of the tightening of the Israeli blockade and the ban on the entry of fuel, which contributed to the renewal of the power outage crisis and affected with its effects the service sectors and weakened the ability of municipalities to distribute and transport water to neighborhoods and residential homes and deprived residents of their right to obtain access. Their need for water in sufficient quantity and quality.
She touched on the challenges facing municipalities that threaten their ability to continue providing their routine and emergency services, which were imposed by the outbreak of Coronavirus in the community (outside the quarantine centers). As a result of the aggravation of the shortage of electric power supplies, resulting from the continued embargo of fuel supplies imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on the Gaza Strip since dawn on Thursday, corresponding to 08/13/2020, and the tightening of the siege imposed on the Strip, which caused a reduction in the hours, and the electric current reached (4) hours For (16) hours. This is in addition to the decrease in the local revenues of the municipalities, and they need urgent aid of (6) million dollars at the rate of (2) million dollars a month for a period of three months in order to be able to cover the expenses and the increasing costs.
The paper included a set of accounts and testimonies from different areas of the Gaza Strip, reflecting the extent of the suffering that residents endure in obtaining water, especially women in their attempts to manage their lives and the daily lives of their families in light of the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the imposition of curfews on the residents of the Gaza Strip. The paper refers to the closure of some residential homes, and the suffering of their residents, who emphasized that the water crisis changed their lives for the worse and prevented them from cleaning their homes and personal tools, at a time when personal and household hygiene work should have been doubled as a measure to avoid the transmission of Coronavirus infection. This is in addition to the impact of the closure and precautionary measures, which has lost a large segment of the day laborers their jobs and became vulnerable to extreme poverty after their income ceased to be modest, and consequently their ability to provide water in good quantity and quality was affected.
The paper concluded that the Israeli blockade, preventing fuel supplies and deepening the electricity crisis in light of the Corona pandemic, exacerbated the municipal crisis, confused the water distribution schedule, and deprived large areas, especially poor neighborhoods, of the right to obtain their water needs in sufficient quantity.
The paper presented a set of recommendations calling on the international community to take serious action to end the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, and to pressure the Israeli occupation authorities to allow the passage of fuel supplies needed to operate the power plant. And to provide urgent grants to support municipalities in order to be able to implement their necessary and vital activities related to water, sanitation and hygiene, and infrastructure projects.
And she stressed the need to increase coordination between the Electricity Company, municipalities, emergency committees, and popular committees in the governorates, in order to ensure that water is delivered to neighborhoods and communities, so that water arrives in line with the electric current to ensure that it is pumped to the upper tanks.
The paper emphasized the need for the Electricity Distribution Company to provide electric current service to municipal water wells and to deal with them as vital facilities indispensable to the population, to ensure that water reaches the dwellings continuously and to help citizens take precautions that prevent the spread of Corona virus through hygiene and sterilization, and called for support for the poor and needy by means. Water storage and pumping, and the delivery of water to their homes urgently until viable solutions are found to ensure the continued flow of water to their homes.
(Source / 03.09.2020)