In its press release published on 16 November 2023, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) underlined that an environmental catastrophe is threatening livelihoods in the Gaza Strip. The region is facing a severe water crisis, with each person in Gaza Strip now having access to only 1-3 liters of water per day. This is a significant decrease from the previous average of approximately 82.7 liters per person per day before the Israeli Occupation Aggression. The aggression has led to a 90% reduction in the availability of water sources, resulting in a 92% drop in water consumption compared to pre-aggression levels. The water infrastructure in Gaza Strip has been severely impacted, with around 55% of the water supply systems in urgent need of repair or rehabilitation.
Additionally, the access to safe and sustainable water in Gaza Strip has been severely limited. Prior to the Israeli aggression, only 4% of the population had access to safe and clean water. With the continuous aggression and the lack of fuel to operate water desalination plants and water well pumps, the situation has worsened. Currently, only one water desalination plant in the south of Gaza is operating at 5% capacity, while the other two plants are not working due to power outages and fuel shortages.
Furthermore, all wastewater treatment plants in Gaza Strip have been fully suspended due to the complete destruction of infrastructure caused by the Israeli aggression. As a result, about 65 sewage pumps have stopped working, and untreated wastewater is flowing into the Mediterranean Sea at a rate of approximately 130,000 cubic meters per day.
The ongoing Israeli occupation aggression has also impacted waste management in Gaza Strip. The lack of fuel has forced solid waste collection vehicles and sanitary landfills out of service. As a result, the solid waste collection service has decreased to less than 20%, leading to a buildup of waste in the streets and around shelter centers and schools. The mixing of medical waste with other waste poses a potential health and environmental disaster.
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