GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The municipality of Gaza City launched May 23 a large volunteer clean-up campaign in the city, following the recent Israeli escalation on the Gaza Strip. The escalation, which ended May 21 and dragged on for 11 days, left behind severe damage to the infrastructure, sewage plants and electric grid in the coastal enclave. In addition, new environmental and health crises were added to the list of crises that the Gaza Strip already suffers from due to the Israeli siege that has been ongoing for 16 years.
In a May 20 statement the municipality said the Israeli strikes on two water pipelines of 14 and 16 inches in diameter in the Gaza district of al-Saftawi halted water supply to 20% of the city’s population, i.e., nearly 200,000 people. The suspension of water supply has aggravated the water crisis in Gaza, which is caused by the Israeli deliberate attacks on water pipelines, it added. The statement indicated that the municipality began its inspection to temporarily repair the damage and ease the water crisis caused by the strikes.
The targeted water pipelines in the recent escalation are 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) in length, causing a water crisis and shortage to some parts of Gaza.
Hosni Mhanna, spokesman for the municipality of Gaza City, told Al-Monitor, “The Israeli strikes caused a great deal of damage, because the road network in Gaza was a direct target. Nearly 70 streets were hit, which destroyed nearly 130,000 square kilometers [roughly 50,000 square miles] of sidewalks and street tiles.”
He said that sewage networks extending more than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in length were destroyed. The fact that sewage plants were directly targeted caused wastewater leaks to the seashore, which has led to a health problem and unpleasant odors in most parts of the Gaza Strip. He noted that the municipality hastened to conduct initial repairs.
“[Water] treatment and sewage plants stopped operating, which has led to a drinking water crisis in the city. Water quality has been severely affected due to power cuts and the municipality’s inability to operate the wells in light of the acute fuel shortages,” Mhanna noted. “The municipality tried to use generators for the operation of the wells, which was difficult due to their bad condition.”
He said that the destruction of the roads has hampered traffic and subsequently the collection of garbage, in addition to the Israeli targeting of the Johr al-Deek landfill that has the potential to cause a health crisis in Gaza, he said.
Mhanna continued saying that the desalination plants are still out of service, because they need fuel for operation, and other materials and supplies for maintenance. When it comes to the water crisis that Gaza is now encountering, the war took them years back.
He added that the municipality’s losses are estimated at millions of dollars, and that the final figure is yet to be determined.
Mhanna explained that the…
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