Despite a pause in the month-long bombardment, the people of Gaza are facing a critical public health crisis due to the destruction and contamination of Gaza’s water supply, worldwide development organization Oxfam warned today.
The bombing has destroyed dozens of wells, pipelines, and reservoirs, and fresh water is contaminated with raw sewage. 15,000 tons of solid waste fills the streets, water pumping stations are on the verge of running out of fuel, and many neighborhoods have been without power for days.
“We’re working in an environment with a completely destroyed water infrastructure that prevents people in Gaza from cooking, flushing toilets, or washing hands. The current public health risk is massive, and while a 72-hour ceasefire is a positive step, Gaza’s infrastructure will take months or years to fully recover,” said Nishant Pandey, head of Oxfam in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel.
Even before the violence of the past month, people in Gaza were already extremely vulnerable due to the Israeli blockade, a collective punishment of an entire civilian population, which stops people and goods moving in and out, destroying the economy and eroding basic rights.
“Public health conditions in Gaza are getting worse by the hour, and with water running out the threat of disease is spreading fast. The ceasefire alone will not be enough to end Gaza's suffering—the blockade of Gaza must also end if there is to be real recovery and lasting peace for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Pandey said.
Oxfam has staff in Gaza and Jerusalem who can do interviews in English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Dutch.
Nate McRay, in Jerusalem | +972 54 637 7092 (local) | +972 59 799 2261 (local 2) +31 6 1393 3517 (roaming) | firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: @natemccray
Alun McDonald, in Jerusalem: email@example.com, +972546395002, @alunmcdonald