Water in Gaza: Scarce in the Dry Season, Flooding in the Rainy Season

Clean water sources in Gaza are urgently needed during the dry season. On the one hand, during rainy season, water often leaks to the Gazans’ houses, often forcing them to roll up their blankets and mattresses.

People in Khan Younis filling their drums with clean water distributed by Aksi Cepat Tanggap. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, GAZA - The distribution of clean water is a regular program carried out by Aksi Cepat Tanggap’s Humanity Water Tank every two weeks. The clean water distribution covers areas like Khan Younis, Alamal, Khozaa, Alqarara, Asda, Al Quba, and Rafah.

This October, clean water assistance reached more than 2,500 beneficiaries in these areas. Said Mukaffiy of Global Humanity Response - Aksi Cepat Tanggap reported that many people in Gaza still depend on clean water distributed by aid agencies. “Their groundwater has been polluted, making it unfit for use and consumption. Their sanitation facilities have been damaged by the war,” Said stated.

Water sources have been increasingly difficult to find. The lack of clean water also poses a threat to the health of the Gazan population.

In carrying out the humanitarian program, ACT involves its partner, including Indonesian crowdfunding site Kitabisa.com. “We distributed it to areas where clean water is scarce and to areas inhabited by impoverished families. The Humanity Water Tank distributed over a million liters of water to poor families, ”added Said.

Sadly, problems arise not only when water is scarce, but also when it is abundant. Aisha Abu Nemer, a Palestinian woman living with her husband and three children in Khan Younis told Middle East Eye that their nightmare came when the rain started. “We have to get up at midnight to fill buckets with the rainwater that floods the house and remove the mattresses and blankets from the floor," she said. They have to stay awake until the rain stops and the blankets dry.

Her house, located in a marginalized, poor neighborhood, is 50 square meters in total and topped with a tin roof. The family lives in one room, which serves as a living room, kitchen and toilet. In an adjoining, single bedroom where all the family sleeps, there is a mattress on the floor and a white closet, the only piece of furniture in the home.

The United Nations issued a report seven years ago warning that by 2020, the Gaza Strip could be uninhabitable due to severe problems with its water, power, healthcare and education systems.

According to UNRWA, the UN agency that cares for refugees, years of conflict and blockade have left 80 percent of Gaza’s population dependent on international assistance. []