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Ma’an: Gaza Strip’s water, sewage systems to shut down ‘within hours’

The Gaza Strip’s water and sewage systems are hours away from shutting down as supplies of fuel used to run critical pumps run out, the international aid agency Oxfam said on Monday evening.

As of 5pm local time on Monday, only 37 of the 122 water supply pumps have fuel and most will run out of fuel within hours.

Oxfam fears the risks of an outbreak of water borne diseases if the water and sanitation system shuts down. According to Gaza’s water authority 40% of the population, 600,000 people, is now without running water.

Running water will be shut off completely on Tuesday, the water authority says.

“The risk to public health of a breakdown of the water and sanitation system is real and a massive case for concern. Israel must immediately allow fuel into Gaza to avoid any further civilian suffering. Cutting off water to civilians is both immoral and illegal, no matter what the provocation maybe,” said Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s Director.

“The international community has allowed this chronic emergency to deteriorate and has the responsibility to help solve this crisis. Israel must allow these urgently needed supplies into Gaza today,” added Stocking.

The water and sewage system was already in danger of breakdown due to on going restrictions of goods into the Gaza Strip. There are severe shortages of spare parts, and other materials necessary for repairs and preventive maintenance. The importation of these has been repeatedly denied access since June 2007.