Gaza Struggles To Restart Life

Four hundred thousand people in Gaza do not have access to regular water supply after 11 days of conflict devastated electricity and water services that severely impacted three main desalination plants, Oxfam said today.

To make matters worse, around 100,000 Palestinians are displaced by the bombing and are attempting to return home.

A Palestinian barber Hashim Al-Jarousha works at the rubble of his destroyed stylist barber shop in the north of Gaza City on, 25 May 2021. Al-Jarousha’s barber shop was destroyed from the Israeli air strikes on Gaza, during the 11-day war. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

Even if their homes are still standing, life for them will not be normal.

Oxfam Country Director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, Shane Stevenson in statement said that every one of the 2.1 million people living in the Gaza strip has been affected by Israel’s bombing that took 240 lives.

“The bombings also destroyed or damaged 258 buildings containing nearly 1,042 homes and commercial offices, and devastated vital public services.

“Gaza is largely dependent upon fuel for its electricity, including to pump clean water from wells into homes. The disruption in the supply causing a shortage of fuel, hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza will soon have no access to basic hygiene,” he added.

Gaza and the West Bank have already seen more than 330,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 3,700 people have died due to the virus.

A Palestinian woman makes coffee at the kitchen of her destroyed house in Beit Hanoun town, northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian families started returning to their destroyed houses after 11 days of fighting a ceasefire came into effect on May 21 between Israel and militants in Gaza strip under an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional ceasefire. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

Even before the recent hostilities, the average daily consumption of water was just 88 litres per capita – far below the global minimum requirement of 100 litres.

“Electricity cuts and the destruction of office buildings have forced many small businesses to come to a halt. Israel’s authorities have stopped the bombing but are now restricting fuel deliveries.

‘They have also closed most of the Gaza fishing zone, meaning nearly 3600 fishermen have now lost their daily income and food.

“Water is doubly important, during this critical phase of the coronavirus pandemic, to help people limit the spread of COVID-19. Six hospitals and 11 clinics have also been damaged including the only COVID-19 laboratory in Gaza,” Stevenson said.

Palestinians inspect their destroyed houses in Beit Hanoun town, northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian families started returning to their destroyed houses after 11 days of fighting a ceasefire came into effect on 21 May between Israel and militants in Gaza strip under an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional ceasefire. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

Oxfam is currently working with partners to provide people with immediate lifesaving clean water, hygiene kits and cash to help people buy food and their essentials, and to restore destroyed water systems.

The agency aims to reach an additional 282,000 people and needs $3 million to ramp up its humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Palestinians sit inside their tent by the rubble of their destroyed house in Beit Hanoun town, northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian families started returning to their destroyed houses after 11 days of fighting a ceasefire came into effect on 21 May between Israel and militants in Gaza strip under an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional ceasefire. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

“Meeting people’s immediate humanitarian needs is critical now. But Gaza cannot rebuild without addressing the root causes of the conflict.

“The cycle of war means any humanitarian effort now could be lost again tomorrow.

“The international community must ensure concrete political action to bring an end to the occupation and the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip,” Stevenson added.

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