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UK pledges £9m for desalination plant in Gaza

Palestinians children fill plastic bottles and water containers with drinking water from a public tap in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip on July 27, 2014. [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]
Palestinians children fill plastic bottles and water containers with drinking water from a public tap on 27 July 2014 [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]

The UK government yesterday announced a contribution of £9 million ($11.8 million) for the central desalination plant in the Gaza Strip, head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) Mazen Ghoneim said.

According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, this announcement came during the opening of an international conference on the water desalination project in the Gaza Strip attended by 31 countries and held at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

The conference, Wafa reported, aims to raise money to kick start the project after $565 million, or 80 per cent of the total cost of the project, was raised last year.

READ: Israel deprives Palestinians of clean water, UN says

Ghoneim urged the donors at the opening of the conference to continue their support for the project because of its importance suppling clean drinking water for more than two million people living in the besieged Gaza Strip.

He said the PWA has completed a large part of the plan for the project, noting that construction would start by the end of the year.

The plant is expected to provide 55 million cubic metres of clean drinking water a year in the first stage, which will last until 2021. This will increase to 110 million cubic metres of water every year.

At present, only three per cent of Gaza’s water is drinkable.

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