Jamal al Khodari, chairman of the Popular Committee against the Siege said the situation in the Gaza Strip amounted to a humanitarian catastrophe due to the Israeli siege and the water and electricity crises, He called for urgent international intervention to avoid further consequences from the crises.
During a press conference in Palestine square, Gaza on Thursday 7 November Khodari said, "The situation in the Gaza Strip requires everyone to act promptly, without political considerations, in order to save the two million Palestinians entrapped in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli occupation bares the responsibility for the blockade and its implications. All border crossings except Karam Abu Salem are completely closed. The Israeli authorities have prohibited international organisations and the private sector from importing essential goods and building material through the partly opened Abu Salem crossing for the eighth day in a row. Israel has allowed the private sector and international institutions to import 140 trucks carrying building materials on a daily basis a month ago but prevented them a week later citing 'security reasons.' Preventing the entry of construction materials has serious implications on employment and the construction sector".
Khodari said "the ban has stalled 200 million USD of construction projects including 75 million USD of UNRWA projects and 40 million USD of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) projects. The private sector and other international institutions' projects have also been stalled including the construction of 25 schools, water and sanitation infrastructure projects and health and educational facilities constructions".
Khodari said the health situation is deteriorating as the ministry of health lacks 30% of essential medicines and 45% of medical supplies. Khodari appealed to solidarity delegations to take urgent action and send medicines and medical supplies to Gaza.
Khodari said "95 % of the water is unsafe to drink. Due to the electricity crisis the treatment plants do not work properly and the water either goes to the sea carrying pollutants or to places that are not able to absorb it. We urge donors to prioritise health and water desalination projects.
Khodari appealed to the United Nations and international organisations to assume their responsibilities to cover the fuel deficit and operate the only power station in Gaza; noting that the European Union, the United Nations and other international institutions had funded the station previously.
MEMO photographer Mohammed Asad