Israeli mayors call upon US to help solve Gaza water and electricity crises

Gaza’s water and electricity crises are leading to a larger pollution issue, with sewage spewing into the Mediterranean Sea, which could cause diseases to spread and trigger serious environmental damage. However, Gaza’s sewage issue is beginning to affect southern Israel, as the untreated sewage is beginning to show up on the beaches in Israeli cities.
Palestinian boys play near sewage flowing into the sea in Gaza Photo Credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA

A group of mayors from Israel’s southern Gaza border asked the US to form a coalition in order to find a solution to Gaza’s water and electricity crises, which has led to a sewage crisis as well. The sewage issue is not only causing problems for Israel, but could also propel diseases to spread in Gaza and trigger serious environmental damage.

“There should be an international coalition that would help fund electricity for Gaza,” Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council leader Alon Schuster told US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt upon his visit to Israel.

Gaza in the dark Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

As a result of the electricity crisis, Gaza only has enough power to run a sewage facility for a few hours a day in the northern Gaza Strip. Sewage has not only been appearing on Gaza’s beaches, but also on southern Israeli beaches, and is contaminating the groundwater. “There are serious health and environmental consequences that are expected to affect our area and significantly endanger our residents and the residents of the entire region of southern Israel,” stated a letter, written by the Sderot’s mayor and the heads of four regional councils along the border with Gaza.

The letter also read that “an absurd situation” exists in which Israel now must invest in infrastructure in order to try and curb the consequences of the untreated sewage rather than funding Gaza’s power in order to treat this sewage. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 108 million liters of untreated sewage flow into the Mediterranean Sea every day due to the electricity crisis and 73% of Gaza’s beaches are contaminated.

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