Water shortages in Gaza due to hostile Israeli fuel cuts are leaving Palestinians in a double crisis. At the same time not many people realize how it is to live in limited lock down since 2008. No open way in, no way out. Except for in a severely monitored way.
Within days, news had emerged that recent cross-fire between Israel and Hamas escalated to Israel suspending fuel transfers. On August 19 Gaza’s only power plant had shut down. With no electricity, the water service stopped soon after.
This way the COVID-19 lock down combined with electricity outages keep interrupting the basic needs for the detained people isolated in the largest concentration death camp on the planet.
More than 200 have tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-March. While that number is low, Gaza’s is grappling with a collapsing healthcare systems, while only a few testing kits are available.
Up until last week, the only known cases of the Corona-virus were found inside of government-run isolation centers or at medical checkpoints at the borders. As of the time of publication almost 600 have tested positive in Gaza, up nearly 500 in a week.
At night Shujaiyeh’s paved roads and sandy alleyways are dark, with the exception of a few glares from homes with generators. Nestled east of Gaza City, more than 100,000 people live on roughly four square miles.
In the afternoons there is little movement on the streets with the exception of some in search of basic necessities.
On August 26 the Gaza City municipality said in a statement the current electrical crisis caused water distribution to plummet to a quarter of the city’s needs.
The statement said the municipality “owns 76 water wells inside and outside of Gaza City, all of which operate with an electric current, and the shortage of electricity is now compensated for by operating backup generators.”
On Monday Israel and Hamas reached an deal to quell the tensions with Hamas agreeing to stop sending incendiary devices and rockets into Israel and Israel agreed to cease nearly two weeks of nightly airstrikes and allow an injection of cash for fuel from Qatar.
Despite the tentative detente as of Thursday Gaza was only meeting around three-fifths of its water demand as power shortages remain.
The shortages occurred just as Palestinians went into their first lock down since the pandemic began, leaving many in a double crisis.
Water cuts in Gaza function similar to rolling blackouts; there is no schedule when water will turn back on and Palestinians have taken to checking their faucets around the clock.
“I believe we have reached the worst condition of any place in the entire world, and still in the coming days, I believe it will get worse under Israeli doctrine?
Mondoweiss / ABC Flash Point News 2020.