Gaza Strip's water is
undrinkable. The rest is quickly
running out. A combination
of factors is rapidly depriving
the population of this most
basic of needs. RT investigated day-to-day life under these
Just one fresh water source exists today, according to
the locals - a coastal aquifer beneath the ground that is
shared with Israel and Egypt. But Gaza is situated
downstream from Israel, and Palestinians accuse the
Jewish state of using the situation to its advantage,
employing water deprivation as a tactic against the
The grim water statistics are part of a recent UN report on
Gaza, which says the strip will become uninhabitable by
2020. A number of reasons compound the problems,
according to the document by the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The Gaza Strip's GDP dropped 15 percent in 2014, with 72
percent of households suffering extremely low food security
and unemployment at a record high of 44 percent. Further
stress was added by relentless IDF assaults. With three
military operations in the last six years, coupled with eight
years of economic blockade, prospects for recovery are
looking very bleak.
The UN says that 500,000 people have been displaced in
Gaza as a result of last year's IDF operation alone. More
than 20,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed, and 148
schools and 15 hospitals and 45 primary health-care
centers were severely damaged. Gaza is one of the most
densely populated areas in the world.
But worse still is when the populace is deprived of the prime
source of life - water. Without it, no reconstruction and no
rebuilding of lives can take place. Medicine, sanitation,
hygiene and crucial facilities that depend on water all suffer.
RT investigated the extent of the hardship under these
"We can't drink it, cook with it, or wash in the kitchen with it...
we are forced to buy all the clean water separately," said
Umm Ibrahim Amna Abdel'al, as she stood in her kitchen,
little more four bare cement walls and a sink.
A delivery pickup truck trundled through the streets outside
with a water tank sitting in the back.
"The last war on Gaza, of course, resulted in the
destruction of some of the infrastructure, the water
holes and the pumping stations were [heavily hit.] More
than 50 percent of the water infrastructure could not be
accessed," said Mahmoud Elkhafif, UNCTAD's special
coordinator for assistance to the Palestinian people.
"Part, of course, vanished," he added.
RT's Lizzie Phelan tasted what remains of the Strip's water
for herself: "This coffee tastes like it has salt not sugar in it.
That's because the water that's used to wash it - like much
of Gaza's water - is contaminated with sea water."
The woman went on to describe how "tiny kids suffer
from cramps and colic" - a syndrome commonly
associated with stomach infections.
"See my hand?" she pointed to the irritated skin on her palm.
"It is because of the salty water. I have a skin infection. The
water is full of salt. It is like sewage."
And salt isn't the only problem. The water coming into
homes is also full of nitrate - a carcinogenic. The levels rose
even higher last year, during Israel's bombardment of
sewage pipes and clean water pipes. Now, the two
chemicals have mixed.
But even though the water is filthy, Gazans pay an
exorbitantly for it.
Elkhafif put it bluntly: "Gaza suffers a catastrophic issue
with water quality and water supply. And it's a shame on
the world that they are still watching this."
Unless the situation is resolved, the Strip stands on the brink
of a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe much greater than
any airstrikes can cause.
Please help us grow, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated!