Photo by Marco Botel.
View current stats on the emergency in Gaza: Gaza Emergency July 2014
Press Release: July 14, 2014//Action Against Hunger is increasingly concerned by the damage to vital water infrastructure in Gaza as it prepares emergency response for displaced families. Action Against Hunger is calling for a ceasefire to safeguard civilians as it prepares to distribute food and essential items to 400 families displaced by recent violence.
The organisation is increasingly alarmed by the situation of those displaced in Gaza and the impact on public health of bomb damage to vital water infrastructure.
More than 4,500 people have fled their homes due to escalating violence in the past week, and 60,000 others are at risk of displacement from the north of Gaza. Of particular concern is the destruction of a water treatment plant and two pumping stations – a source of clean drinking water for thousands.
“The water supply to more than 31,000 people has been reduced or discontinued in Gaza City, Khan Younis and Beit Hanoun,” said Paolo Lubrano, Action Against Hunger’s country director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
“Damage to a water treatment plant has caused the discharge of sewage into the sea, threatening the livelihood of fishermen in the area. Civilian infrastructure has been severely affected: four lines supplying electricity to Gaza have been damaged during the past 48 hours and 75 per cent of the city is now without power.”
Some 1.8 million people in Gaza are affected by Operation Protective Edge, which has caused severe damage to civilian infrastructure. Action Against Hunger’s eight-person team, working on the Gaza strip, report that shops and offices have been shut, with tensions the highest they have been in years. Children, they say, are particularly affected. At least 168 Palestinians have been killed in the recent wave of violence, including 133 civilians – of whom at least 36 were children.
Responding to the immediate needs of displaced families
A severe attack in northern Gaza in the past 48 hours, which threatens to displace 60,000 Palestinians within public spaces of Gaza city, has prompted an urgent need for food assistance. Meanwhile, four million Israeli civilians live under threat of rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon.
As part of an emergency response, the Ministry of Social Affairs has asked Action Against Hunger to cover the food needs of 200 families staying at a refugee camp in the Khan Younis district, south-west of Gaza. The organisation is preparing an emergency distribution to 400 displaced families and will support the repair of the city’s water network.
The challenge of accessing clean water in Gaza
The poor state of sanitation on the Gaza strip was a public health concern before this military operation: 90 per cent of Gaza’s water was polluted and not fit for drinking. Action Against Hunger, present in the area for 12 years, has focused its work on wastewater treatment and access to safe water. In 2013 alone, it improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene for at least 123,000 people.