Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Gaza Sewage Tsunami
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 10:40 AM
A sewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip burst its banks yesterday; flooding the nearby Bedouin village of Umm Naser and killing 5 people, including two toddlers, two elderly women and one teenaged girl. A further 35 people were injured and 200 houses were damaged or destroyed as the wave of putrid water and excrement rolled over the village.

http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/03/27/634172-sewage-flood-in-northern-gaza-kills-5

http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2007/03/27/gaza_sewage_sweeps_through_village_three_dead/

This is a disaster that has been waiting to happen for some time, due to the shocking state of Gaza's wastewater infrastructure. The sewage plant in question serves two densely populated areas: Beit Lahiya and Jabalya, and has for many years been stretched way beyond its capacity. Development agencies and water engineers have been aware of this specific problem for years, and projects have been designed to improve facilities. However, all such projects stalled in 2005 due to the international aid boycott of the Palestinian Territories and escalating violence in the region.

The sewage problem in Gaza is extremely severe. 80% of sewage is discharged untreated into the environment and such treatment facilities as there are are overburdened to breaking point. Not only does this directly threaten human health; but it also causes severe and potentially irreversible environmental degradation, contaminating soil and groundwater supplies.

Last year the Israeli aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip followed by the ground invasion destroyed millions of dollars worth of infrastructure, further setting back development efforts. Maintenance personnel were unable to access facilities to collect waste or repair damage.

This situation is an infringement of basic human rights and urgent action must be taken to remediate it. The fact that Tuesday's disaster was allowed to happen is a disgrace to both Israel and the international aid community; who have been well aware of the danger for years.
4 Comments
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