Oxfam: Gaza on the brink of a major health crisis

Emergencies, Foreign aid, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 06 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, 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 neighbourhoods have been without power for days.


Head of Oxfam in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, Nishant Pandey, said water infrastructure in the area had been destroyed.


“We’re working in an environment with a completely destroyed water infrastructure that prevents people in Gaza from cooking, flushing toilets, or washing hands,” Pandey said.


“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.”


Even before the violence of the past month, people in Gaza were already extremely vulnerable due to the blockade, 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.



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