Gaza Strip shortages now include food, water and electricity

Over US $100 million worth of aid is blocked because of a 10-month delay in Israeli clearance, says a news report quoting UN statement

Published: Friday 25 July 2014

Photo: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

The ongoing conflict in Gaza is not only claiming lives but also making life “terrible” for the Palestinians who have managed to survive the attacks. The air strikes by Israel and the rockets launched by Hamas in retaliation in the latest round of escalated hostilities have claimed over 840 lives.

The international aid agencies are now worried about water and food supplies in the besieged Gaza Strip getting dangerously low.  Reports also suggest that Gaza’s water infrastructure has been damaged by Israeli air strikes, and some local people are displaying symptoms of poisoning after drinking the water.

Over 120,000 people are displaced but are prevented from escaping violence because borders with Israel and Egypt are shut, Oxfam said. The charity added that water supplies were disrupted to over one million people, raw sewage was at risk of contaminating the water due to the destruction of sanitation plants. According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), An estimated 1.2 million people have no or very limited access to water or sanitation services due to damage to the electricity system or lack of fuel to run generators. "Less than half of the required amount of water is being pumped," says Municipality of Gaza.

Before this, Valerie Amos, UN's undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, on Thursday had described the situation as “terrible” and said that the conflict meant that 44 per cent of Gaza was a no-go area for Palestinians and residents were running out of food.
A report, published in Euronews, claimed that since there is no electricity for most of the time, the available food is rotting quickly.  The problem has been aggravated by the deaths of several municipal water technicians over the past few days. 

In dire need of aid

In an earlier briefing, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had warned that as a result of the recent conflict, hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are without water. "Water and electrical services are also affected as a result of the current hostilities. If they do not stop, the question is not if but when an already beleaguered population will face an acute water crisis," said Jacques de Maio, head of the ICRC delegation in Israel.

A report published in The Times of India on Friday morning had pointed out that Gaza, which slid into poverty over the years after Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade in 2007, now largely lives on UN aid that must be cleared by Israel. According to a recent UN statement, over $100 million worth of aid is blocked because of a 10-month delay in Israeli clearance.  “More than 2,000 rockets have been now been fired at Israel from Gaza since July 8,” says a report published by The Independent.

For the hundreds of thousands people facing humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Gaza, aid by way of food, medicine, water is the need of the hour. 

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