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97% of the water in Gaza is undrinkable…. Muslim Aid responds!

Background:

Gaza is a self governing Palestinian territory which has faced economic isolation from many parts of the international community from 2006 onwards. The territories of the Gaza strip and West Bank are considered to be occupied by Israel by the United Nations. With continued border closures from neighbouring countries, residents are not free to enter or leave the Gaza strip, nor allowed to freely import or export goods. Sadly this has resulted in locals referring Gaza as the worlds biggest prison. This has thus resulted in an astonishing 80% of the population depend on humanitarian aid.

In recent years millions of Palestinians are forgetting the basic right to drink clean safe water from a household tap. This is then putting 2 million people are at risk of waterborne diseases; the biggest cause of death in Gaza.
The water is not only biologically contaminated but also contains higher concentrations of salts and dissolved minerals than are allowed by the guidelines. The 14-year-old lockdown has produced chronic power cuts and damaged Gaza's infrastructure, contributing to water contamination. As a result this water crisis requires an investment of funds and equipment to counteract the negative impact it is having on families.

Assessment:

Muslim Aid has been supported the people of Gaza since 2006. Initially our response was to provide emergency assistance providing food packs, medical assistance, education, and training. Over the years our programmes department conduct regular needs assessment to establish the appropriate intervention that can provide long terms solutions. Our findings including access to electricity being limited to only 1 hour per day, crippling the water purification plats. This in turn increased the risk of injury of fire at night.

‘’The water tanks we use are polluted and they are not clean, this causes diseases in our children so we have to take them to the hospital because they get very ill. The distance we go to get water is very long and it makes the children ill and tired’’ – Mother in Gaza

Response:

Muslim Aid invested over £1 million pounds through the generous donations of the UK community to build solar powered water desalination units to ensure that even during periods of power outages we can continue to provide clean water over 50 locations within Gaza. (localities include schools, nurseries and hospitals).

Impact: 

  • 70 RO Plants operated with solar systems to cover the need of safe drinking water for students, health care providers and the surrounding community.
  • 41 RO desalination plats will be operated and maintained
  • 200 Awareness sessions conducted to increase community members knowledge and understanding of water use, water preservation, controlling and wasting water, hygiene promotions to avoid health problems.
  • 20 Mass Media water tank cleaning campaigns.
  • 10,000 water flasks distributed among students at school through PAEEP staff and volunteers to increase hygiene knowledge and practices.

Sustainability:

The desalination units are the best long term solution for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

  • Operation lifespan of the RO units is estimated for 10 years if well maintained. 
  • Modern solar panels and inverters, ensure that the RO units will work on a regular basis, and save costs for electricity. Training has been provided to staff personal who are assigned to follow up and maintain the units.
  • Awareness sessions and campaigns on water consumption and utilization culture amongst women, children and youth to support feeling of ownership of the water system and infrastructure to keep the RO units better protected.
  • Raise social responsibility in terms of water provision, as there are a number of different beneficiaries who use the units (Nurseries, Schools). 

We would like to thank all of our donors who contributed to the implementation of this project and will continue our work to support the millions of Palestinians living in Gaza.

Written by Yusuf Kalam (Fundraising Manager)

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