Children collect water from a public water collection point, as Israeli air strikes continue in Gaza City. (Photo: AFP)
Across the Gaza Strip, more than 2 million people are at risk as water runs out, warned the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
“It has become a matter of life and death. It is a must; fuel needs to be delivered now into Gaza to make water available for 2 million people,” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General.
“No humanitarian supplies have been allowed into Gaza for a week now”, said UNRWA. “Clean water is running out in the Gaza Strip, after its water plant and public water networks stopped working.” UNRWA added that Palestinian families are now forced to use dirty water from wells, increasing risks of waterborne diseases.
It also warned that Gaza has also been under an electricity blackout since 11 October, impacting the water supply.
At the UN base in the southern Gaza Strip - where UNRWA has moved its operations- drinking water is also running out. Thousands of people have sought refuge there after Israel issued a warning to residents demanding them to leave their homes in the northern parts of the Strip.
Only in the past 12 hours, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced. The exodus continues as people move to the southern parts of the Gaza Strip. Nearly 1 million people have been displaced in one week alone.
“We need to truck fuel into Gaza now. Fuel is the only way for people to have safe drinking water. If not, people will start dying of severe dehydration, among them young children, the elderly and women. Water is now the last remaining lifeline. I appeal for the siege on humanitarian assistance to be lifted now,” said Lazzarini.