Gazans forced to walk through sewage under Israeli-Egyptian siege

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Crescent International

Muharram 14, 1435 2013-11-18

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

There is immense suffering in Gaza, the tiny Strip that is sandwiched between Israel, the Red Sea and Egypt. The zionist regime has blockaded the tiny Strip with its 1.5 million inhabitants from all sides (including the sea), the Egyptian regime is also collaborating with the zionists adding to the suffering of the people of Gaza. Raw sewage flows in the streets forcing people to walk through it (photo). 90 percent of Gaza's water is undrinkable.

Cairo, Crescent-online
November 18, 2013, 10:19 DST

Life for people in Israeli-besieged Gaza is grim. With so much turmoil elsewhere in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) especially in Syria, attention has shifted away from the suffering from the people of Gazan.

That does not, however, mean that their suffering has lessened. On Sunday, demonstrators gathered at the Rafah crossing to protest the Egyptian military’s closure of the border that is a vital lifeline for the besieged Strip.

They demanded the immediate and permanent reopening of the closed gate. In collaboration with the Zionist regime, the Egyptian military has also been busy destroying tunnels through which people smuggle goods for survival—food, fuel, medicines, and other essentials—from Egypt. Since the launch of the destruction campaign soon after the military coup on July 3, almost 80 percent of tunnels have been blown up causing an estimated $250 million worth of damage.

Life for Gazans is precarious in other ways as well. Lack of spare parts for the sole sewage treatment plant means raw sewage has to be discharged into the sea. At least 90 million litres of raw sewage is let into the sea that backs up and has flooded the streets of Gaza.

Children have to walk through raw sewage to go to school increasing not only their discomfort but also causing an alarming increase in diseases.

The Gazans’ suffering is heart wrenching. They have to endure 12 to 18 hour power outages (depending on where in the Strip they live). There is critical shortage of essential medicines (40% of essential drugs).

Healthcare professionals lack sutures or the correct-sized chest tubes. “Sutures are how you sew people up together, chest tubes are the things that you put into peoples’ chests when they’ve been shot in the chest or when they’re bleeding in the chest or when there’s water, air in the chest for other reasons," according to one doctor in Gaza.

Lack of spare parts due to the Israeli siege and shortage of electricity means 88 Kidney dialysis devices will stop working [endangering 500 dialysis patients], 45 rooms equipped for urgent cases will close, the ICU in Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital will close, and five blood banks and tens of medical labs will also close. In addition, three mass refrigerators for keeping children's vaccines and 113 nurseries will close, as will refrigerators for sensitive drugs and x-ray centres. In fact, all service departments are under the threat of closure," according to a report by Gaza’s Health ministry on November 7, 2013.

The Israeli siege is bad enough; the Egyptian regime’s closure of Rafah Crossing has resulted in a rise in fuel prices by 40 percent. This means shortage of cooking gas (the main means of cooking) and fuel (which combined with power outages render hospitals extremely vulnerable, as fuel is necessary for back-up generators, which themselves are not meant to run for 8, 10, 12 hour stretches.) As a consequence, life support machinery and prenatal wards, and even simple hygienic laundry work cannot be sustained.

Add to that the Zionist blockade of the sea so that Gaza fishermen cannot catch fish, the deliberate and provocative shooting by Zionist soldiers at Palestinian farmers, the random bombings by Israeli warplanes and the incessant humming of drones over the Gaza Strip add to the psychological trauma of people, especially children.

Water, like air, is essential for survival but 95 percent of water in Gaza is not drinkable. This is adding to an increase in water borne diseases.

On November 15, Gazans observed another grim anniversary in their unending suffering: the launch of Israel’s murderous assault a year ago on the tiny strip that killed more than 100 people, most of them women and children as well as caused immense infrastructure damage.

The 5,000 homes, factories, schools etc destroyed during the December 2008 – January 2009 attack have still not been rebuilt because cement and steel cannot be brought in due to the Israeli siege.

The Zionist regime is guilty of war crimes and those that support it are accomplices in such crimes.


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