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U.N. Calls On Israel To Ease Gaza Embargo To Enable Water, Sanitation Service Repairs

U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian Territories Maxwell Gaylard “urged Israel to ease its embargo of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and allow in materials urgently needed to repair water and sanitation services,” Agence France-Presse reports. At a press conference, Gaylard said the “deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding” a situation that is “severe and protracted.” He added, “At the heart of this crisis is a steep decline in standards of living for the people of Gaza, characterised by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic infrastructure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation” (9/3).

About 10,000 people in Gaza do not have access to the water network, and an additional 60 percent of the 1.5 million population don’t get continuous access to water, according to a statement issued by the Association for International Development Agencies, Xinhua writes (9/3).

As a result of a lack of treatment plants, more than 13 million gallons of “raw or partially treated sewage flows into the sea every day from Gaza,” BBC reports, adding, “Israel, and Egypt on its south-western side, have kept Gaza largely sealed since a violent takeover of the territory by the Islamic militant Hamas group in 2007” (9/3). In a related story, Marketplace examines the water shortage in the West Bank.