Delivering Drinking Water to Gaza

August 18, 2014 ANERA
Categories:
Emergency Response, Gaza, Humanitarian Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction
Locations:
Sami Mater, ANERA project engineer, delivers water to displaced children in Jabalia in northern Gaza. During the war Sami and his family were forced to evacuate their home, but he managed to help deliver food and hygiene kits as well as to set up water storage tanks for displaced families in all of Gaza, from the south to the north. Since the ceasefire, Sami has begun assessing damage to the water and sewage networks that ANERA can help repair. As a member of ANERA’s early childhood development team, he is also visiting preschools that ANERA had built or renovated in the past in order to prioritize their repairs moving forward. Some 60% of our participant preschools have sustained damage.

When a short-term ceasefire was announced, children, women and men went into the streets with their empty bottles, jugs and jerry cans looking for places to fill them with water to drink. Bombing damage to infrastructure has created water shortages everywhere.

“As a resident of Khan Younis and a member of ANERA emergency response team, I can tell you that the area has been suffering huge water shortages since the start of the bombings. The eastern and western parts of Khan Younis were immensely affected as the major water and electricity feeder lines were totally destroyed,” said Ahmed El-Najaar, ANERA’s in-kind program coordinator.

ANERA has responded to the crisis by setting up 2,400-liter (634-gallon) tanks in convenient locations across Khan Younis as well as in the middle and northern areas of Gaza. On a daily basis ANERA refills the tanks so families can rely on getting access to clean, drinkable water.

Children line up to fill bottles from an ANERA water tank in their Khan Younis community.

Children line up to fill bottles from an ANERA water tank in their Khan Younis community.

ANERA Joins a Water Convoy to Reach Khoza’a in Khan Younis

ANERA brings water tanker trucks as part of a UN-coordinated humanitarian convoy.

ANERA brings water tanker trucks as part of a UN-coordinated humanitarian convoy.

When it became clear that water scarcity was a major problem in Khan Younis, Ahmad and ANERA’s emergency team was ready to help. Two trucks of tankered water were immediately sent into the region as part of a joint humanitarian water convoy that had safe passage into the heavily bombed area.

“When I first visited Khoza’a [population 15,000] it was like an earthquake had hit it. I saw destroyed homes everywhere and smelt death and blood. Many families are homeless now and some are still looking for corpses under the rubble,” says Ahmed.

“The ANERA trucks were swarmed with residents when they first arrived,” said Ahmad. “People were getting something they hadn’t had for a long time and they were in a panic that they wouldn’t have it again. But everyone calmed down when they realized that the new water tanks weren’t going anywhere and that ANERA would refill them regularly,” Ahmad says.

Ahmad Al-Najjar, ANERA's Gaza in-kind program coordinator, sets up a water tank in the Khan Younis area of Khoza’a.

Ahmad Al-Najjar, ANERA’s Gaza in-kind program coordinator, sets up a water tank in the Khan Younis area of Khoza’a.

More Water Dispersed in North and Middle Gaza

While Ahmed coordinated distributions in Khan Younis, ANERA’s emergency team expanded water tank deliveries to the communities of Jabalia, El-Maghazi, El-Bureij and El-Maghazi in the middle and northern areas of Gaza.

“Water is a problem for us,” said Om Mohammed Abu Eida, a Jabalia resident. “We are hosting 10 families who fled from Beit Lahia and have nowhere to go. Our taps don’t bring us more than few drops of water, so the water tanks are really helping.

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ANERA has placed a total of 50 large water storage tanks in communities across Khan Younis, Jabalia, El Maghazi and El Bureij. So far, ANERA has refilled the tanks with 1,753,000 liters of water.

 

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