Barely a few days before Israel pulled out its forces from Gaza, its incursion had choked off chlorine supplies to the coastal strip, making water-borne epidemics imminent.
The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility posted a newspaper advertisement on February 27 warning the region's 1.5 million residents that one-third of Gaza's water supply is untreated and the situation could cause an epidemic. "Until we resolve the problem, people of Gaza should boil water to disinfect it," read the advertisement. According to the utility authorities, chlorine supplies to the region stopped on January 21. By the end of February, more than 50 of Gaza's 140 water wells had no chlorine and others were fast running out.
Gaza's water supply has been patchy for some time. The utility says it could not import spare parts to repair old pumps and other essential materials due to Israeli sanctions.
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