Drinking Unfit Water in Gaza Feels Like Swallowing Poison

At the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Global Institute for Water, Environment, and Health and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said water in Gaza is “undrinkable” and “slowly poisoning” people.

Palestine water crisis.
Illustration. 97 percent of water in Gaza is contaminated and considered very dangerous to be consumed. (Dok. AFP)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – The water crisis has worsened during the past decades in Gaza. Many water companies in Gaza have been destroyed by Israel’s attacks. The condition makes it more difficult for Gaza to independently produce and distribute clean water to its people. 

Furthermore, municipal tap water often does not work because of long power outages and is usually too salty to drink even when it does as Gaza location is close to the Mediterranean Sea. 

Heavily polluted water resources in the strip also have a serious impact on public health, with children, in particular, facing the risk of water-borne disease. Falesteen Abdelkarim (36), a mother of five from the Al-Shati refugee camp said that water in her area is “undrinkable”.

“It tastes as if it is coming from the sea. We cannot use it to drink, cook or even to shower. Life in the refugee camps is miserable. We always buy drinking water from the vendors” she said.

Abdelkarim said residents have access to municipal water only three times a week, and sometimes, it comes “mixed with sewage” because the failing infrastructure in the refugee camps is unable to properly treat it.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Saleem (40) from the Al-Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in northern Gaza said efforts to grow a garden at his home had failed since the water was too polluted.

“All my plants dried up and died because of high water salinity and high chloride. If the plants have died because of this water, what will it do with people’s bodies?” he asked.

Human rights organizations have warned for years about the deteriorating water situation in the Gaza Strip.

At the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Global Institute for Water, Environment, and Health and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said water in Gaza is “undrinkable” and “slowly poisoning” people.

“The long-term Israeli blockade has caused a serious deterioration of water security in Gaza, making 97% of the water contaminated. The residents of the besieged enclave are forced to witness the slow poisoning of their children and loved ones,” said a representative of the organization.[]