Following a week of Israeli airstrikes, hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents remain without running water. International aid agencies warned Tuesday that Israel’s ongoing destruction of Gazan infrastructures threatens the entire coastal strip with a water crisis within days.
‘Within days, the entire population of the Strip may be desperately short of water,’ noted Jacques de Maio, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Israel and the occupied territories.
In a published statement, de Maio added that ‘The question is not if but when an already beleaguered population will face an acute water crisis.’ He further highlighted that water is becoming contaminated and sewage is overflowing, bringing a serious risk of disease.
Recent attacks have knocked water and electrical systems out of action. Palestinian officials on Saturday claimed that Israelis had targeted water wells in different areas of Gaza City.
Gaza’s sewage system is also a target, with Israeli warplanes hitting sewage treatment stations in Gaza City early Saturday morning. The areas most affected include the Shati refugee camp, Tal al-Hawa, Sheikh Ejleen and most western districts of the city, according to Saed al-Din Atbash, head of the Gaza Municipality water facilities.
To make matters worse, the intensive Israeli bombing is preventing technicians from carrying out essential repairs. Following the deaths of several municipal water technicians over the past few days, Gaza’s water service provider has suspended all field operations until the safety of staff can be guaranteed.
As a result, hundreds of thousands more people will soon find there is no water when they turn on the tap.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with over 4,500 people per sq. km. Over 90% of water from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption without treatment.
In related news, AIC reports that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has fired Deputy Defense Minister, Danny Danon, over the his criticism of the government’s handling of the attacks.
(See related link: ‘Most Israelis Oppose Gaza Ceasefire’)