Palestinian municipalities in the Gaza Strip, yesterday, announced the halving of their services as a result of the energy and funding crisis in the besieged coastal enclave.
In a statement, the head of the Municipality of Gaza City, Nizar Hijazi, said that the “increasing humanitarian and environmental crisis pushed us to reduce our basic services by 50 per cent.”
According to the PNN, the municipalities across the Gaza Strip are unable to afford the minimum range of services for residents.
Meanwhile, he said that the municipalities closed large swathes of the beach “due to the contamination caused by pouring untreated sewage directly in to the sea as most of the treatment plants stopped working due to the lack of fuel and electricity.”
Head of Rafah Municipality, Sobhi Ridwan, said: “The donors who used to pay for the fuel stopped their payment since the start of this year.”
According to Ridwan, “the donations sent to the municipalities were used to buy fuel for the clean water pumps, sewage treatment plants and trucks and lorries which collect garbage from the streets.”
There is a very clear retreat in the income of the municipalities due to the inability of Gaza residents to pay the monthly costs of services, and this because of the deteriorating situation, therein.
Due to the financial crisis hitting them, over the past months, Gaza municipalities have reduced payments to staff by 30 per cent.
Gaza has been under strict Israeli siege since mid-2007 and it was subjected to three major Israeli offensives during that period, heavily destroying its infrastructure.