Gaza on the brink of major health crisis
Ian Bray Senior Humanitarian Press Officer
5th Aug 2014
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 Oxfam warned today.
The bombing has destroyed dozens of wells, pipelines, and reservoirs, and fresh water is contaminated with raw sewage. An estimated 15,000 tons of solid waste is rotting on the streets, wastewater pumping stations are on the verge of running out of fuel, and many neighbourhoods 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.
For more information contact Alun McDonald on +972546395002 or Nate McCray on +972 54 637 7092 // +972 59 799 2261