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Water shortages hit West Bank

August 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Palestinians living in parts of the occupied West Bank are suffering from a severe shortage of water as temperatures in the area peak.

Palestinian Nidal Younis, the head of the Masafer Yatta village council near Hebron, said water is becoming too expensive for residents to access.

“The cost of a cubic meter for residents is 12 times higher than the normal price,” he told Reuters, shaking his head. “When water is available, it normally costs four shekels [about $1] per cubic meter, but now it costs 50 shekels [$13].”

Younis has Israel prohibits residents from accessing the ground water by denying them permits to dig wells, leaving residents and livestock thirsty.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is working with the Palestinian Authority and Italian aid agency GVC to provide water to impoverished areas, has warned that up to 35,000 Palestinians are at risk because of the shortages.

Gregor von Medeazza, the head of UNICEF’s water programme, said Israel had prevented villagers from building water-retention facilities and demolished many that have been built on the basis that they did not have the necessary planning permissions.

Palestinians living furthest from urban areas are hardest effected as they are forced to pay for water to be brought to their homes by the truckload, he explained.