The Palestinian refugees have been suffering since 65 years, when the Palestinians were plagued with NAKBA.
Residents of the Shati refugee camp in the west of Gaza, particularly people of the area of “Block 4″ complained recently of pollution of drinking water with sewage.
They also suffer from salinity of the water as well as water cutting from time to time along the year. Moreover, suffering aggravated when the sewage smuggled to the drinking water making the situation intolerable for the refugees who live in that area.
“Abu Ahmed said, a 44- year-old refugee living in the camp, said that residents of the camp are so upset and anger for lack of any kind of health control over the camp, noting that leakage of wastewater to the drinking water was discovered by chance not through official bodies, including UNRWA, which oversees the health of the camp, or the Municipality of Gaza, which provides the camp with water.
Calling on officials , decision-makers and institutions concerned with human rights to visit the camp and take close inspection over situation and the coming living disaster that is about to hit the camp , Abu Ahmed appealed the Municipality of Gaza as well as UNRWA to cooperate and exert efforts to serve the refugees in the camp. Mr. Nashaat Abu Omaira, the chairman of popular Committee of the refugees in the camp, said that most of the water arriving Shati refugee camp is salt water in origin, where refugees cannot use it for drinking or cooking. However, the catastrophe that occurred in area of “Block 4″ is a serious pollution state that cannot be tolerated.
Abu Omaira called for tightening health watching over sources of water inside the camp, noting that a large part of this task should be handled by UNRWA for it is responsible for providing refugees with service and a decent life in accordance with international resolutions. Abu Omaira added that one of the main reasons for this problem is the lack of terrestrial systems in the camp. In addition, these networks are not subject to any kind of maintenance. Furthermore, these water networks have no health planning or developments.
Commenting on the problem, General Manager of water and sanitation in the Municipality of Gaza. Saad Eddin Alatbash told the Division of refugees’ affairs that the main reason for the leakage of wastewater to drinking water is caused by random use of water by residents, where people build the drinking water networks over networks of the sanitation. This random distribution of water network cased the leak of waste water to drinking water, adding that what happened in area of Bloc 4 is an exceptional case.
He said that the problem of mixing of sewage with drinking water reached only some houses, and did not last more than one day, where municipal specialized crews treated it immediately.
He explained that the camp suffers indiscriminate situation as well as the random behavior of citizens caused the leak among the water networks.
Answering a question over the inability to discover the pollution immediately , he said there are problems in some of the camps, where they face difficulties in technical and vocational dealing with the main source of pollution urgently due to lack of equipment the municipality has. However, the municipality is at permanent contact with residents.
Alotbash confirmed that the municipality injects wells of drinking water with thousands of liters of “sterile chlorine”?, assuring people in the camp that crews are watching health environment of the water closely and working on samples of water to avoid any future problems.
Furthermore, Alotbash has warned that the Gaza Strip is going to face a water crisis with endless dimensions, particularly in the light of the fact that 80% of water wells in the Gaza Strip are salty. He added that municipality crews have recently drilled new water well in the last of Galaa Street, whose water is sweet, which is all devoted to 70% people of Shati camp.
Alotbash also said that UNRWA has dug two wells for residents of the Shati refugee camp but water of these wells are too salty, adding that UNRWA has not provided any other solutions to improve the delivery of water services to refugees inside the camp.
He called on r UNRWA to improve water of the wells through installing filters inside these wells for water desalination, or establish stations for the desalination of sea water.
DRAH tried to communicate with UNRWA many times for getting more information over this issue; however, UNRWA officials did not cooperate with us.