HomeNewsIn Gaza, people resort to drinking salty water as garbage piles up...

In Gaza, people resort to drinking salty water as garbage piles up – World

Water, food, electricity supplies cut off in Israeli blockade; some residents dig wells, say forced to drink salty water; fears of health crisis as garbage piles up in streets.

As Israeli air strikes continue to pound the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground offensive, the enclave’s residents are getting more desperate by the hour as water runs out, garbage piles up, explosions flatten homes and hospitals struggle to cope.

Desperate to get some drinking water, some people began digging wells in areas adjacent to the sea or were relying on salty tap water from Gaza’s only aquifer, which is contaminated with sewage and seawater.

Two residents in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, volunteered to fill plastic containers with water to distribute among displaced families.

Palestinians gather to collect water, amid shortages of drinking water, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 15, 2023.

Some residents prayed for an end to the war between Israel and Hamas, which has raised fears of a wider Middle East conflict.

They said overnight air strikes were the heaviest in nine days of conflict. Many houses were flattened. Gaza authorities said at least 2,750 people, mostly civilians and among them more than 700 children, had been killed and nearly 10,000 wounded. A further 1,000 people were missing, believed to be under rubble.

Israel has imposed a full blockade as it prepares a ground assault in Gaza. Israeli troops and tanks are massed on the border.

It has vowed to annihilate Hamas in retaliation for a surprise offensive by its fighters in Israeli towns nine days ago in which 1,300 civilians were killed and 199 people were taken hostage. Israel’s military said at least 291 soldiers have been killed.

Palestinians gather to collect water, amid shortages of drinking water, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 15, 2023.

“Gaza is running out of water and electricity. In fact, Gaza is being strangled and it seems that the world right now has lost its humanity,” said Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

Hamas said on Monday that Israel had not resumed water supplies to Gaza despite pledging to do so. An Israeli official said some water was being provided to an area in the south of the enclave.

Amid international calls for a ceasefire to allow aid in, Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said there would be no halt to the siege without freedom for Israeli hostages.

Fears of health crisis

Gaza is one of the most crowded places on Earth, and for now, there is no way out. Egypt, which also has a border with the enclave, has so far resisted calls to open it to fleeing residents.

“Because of the large number of people inside the camp, there’s no water. So I thought I would volunteer, come with a rickshaw and carry the water from the far away areas, the dangerous areas,” said Mohammad Saqr.

“Now, we’re filling in salt water, I’m ready to drink from the salt water — what else can we do?” Saqr said.

Even before the latest conflict erupted and Israel cut electricity and freshwater supplies to Gaza, 90 per cent of the water was undrinkable, according to the Palestinian Water Authority.

Palestinians collect water, amid the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 14, 2023.

The territory’s only aquifer is contaminated by sewage, chemicals, seawater and neighbourhood desalination facilities and their public taps are a lifesaver for some of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

Even 10pc of the aquifer’s water deemed safe to drink is often mixed with poor-quality water during distribution, making it good only for washing.

Many families living in Gaza have opted to drill private wells drawing from water deep underground, and a small number who can afford it tend to buy mineral water. Others buy cheaper filtered treated water from water trucks that tour the streets.

Garbage is also piling up on the streets and inside shelters for the displaced, raising fears of a health crisis.

“If the garbage continues to pile up it will cause diseases and pandemics,” said Mohammad Hadhoud, a cleaning worker from Khan Younis.

Doctors have been scrambling to help a rising number of patients, including children injured in the air strikes, in overcrowded hospitals that are running short on medicines and fuel due to the blockade. Only the most acute cases are getting surgery because there are not enough resources, doctors say.


Header image: Palestinians carry collected water, amid shortages of drinking water, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 15, 2023.— Reuters

Source: dawn.com

YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN
- Advertisment -

Other News