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UNRWA: Communicable diseases on the rise in Gaza

May 24, 2024 at 11:54 am

Palestinians who were forced to migrate to the central town of Deir al-Balah to protect themselves from the attacks on Gaza by Israel and ensure their safety, form queues to receive clean water distributed by aid organizations in Gaza on May 20, 2024. [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

There has been an increase in communicable diseases in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA reported yesterday citing the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“@WHO reports communicable diseases, including diarrhoea and suspected hepatitis A, are on the rise in #Gaza,” UNRWA wrote on X.

“We need a #CeasefireNow,” it said, stressing it continues to provide health care, “but overcrowded shelters and limited sanitation due to forced displacement pose severe health risks.”

In April, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that the already dire sanitation crisis in Gaza had worsened with the advent of summer, especially after the collapse of the wastewater treatment system.

Gaza residents complain of the proliferation of mosquitoes and rodents, the accumulation of waste and the leakage of sewage, in addition to the danger represented by decomposing bodies under the rubble which cannot be recovered in light of Israel’s ongoing bombing campaign.

In March, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said 80 per cent of families in Gaza do not have access to clean water, which exacerbates the causes of disease. On average Palestinians in Gaza have access to 1.5 litres of water a day for all their needs – drinking, cooking and bathing – the WHO, however, recommends between 50 and 100 litres of water per person per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met and few health concerns arise.

Read: Skin diseases and head lice spread as conditions worsen in Gaza