Fears of a public health crisis in Gaza grew today as sewage started flooding into the streets because of a shortage of fuel to run pumps.
By Tim Butcher at Israel’s Erez crossing into Gaza
The waste leak added to controversy over the humanitarian situation with growing international anger at Israel’s refusal to accept there is a crisis.
Sewage has long been a major concern in Gaza where the antiquated pumping system is held together with a fragile network of temporary pumps and generators.
Oxfam reported the north Gazan town of Beit Hanoun was experiencing serious sewage flooding after generators that run the local pumping station ran out of diesel.
Israel is not allowing diesel into the Gaza Strip although it does allow in some industrial diesel for Gaza’s sole power station to run for a few hours each day.
The amount of industrial diesel allowed in by Israel is considerably less than the delivery ordered by the Israeli supreme court after an action brought by human rights campaigners.
Sadi Ali, project manager for the Palestinian Water Authority, said the health risk from sewage on the streets was clear.
“There is a risk of the spread of all sorts of water borne diseases such as dysentery and cholera,” he said.