Improving Access to Water at Community Facilities in Gaza
October 27, 2021 | Washington, DC — With funding from Muslim Aid USA, Anera has begun work this month to install reverse osmosis water treatment units at four community facilities in Gaza. The installations will increase access to clean, potable water for 22,370 vulnerable residents, more than half of whom are youths and children who are especially at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.
The water that is available through municipal networks in Gaza is too salinated and contaminated for human consumption. It poses a grave threat to human health and the environment. The high levels of fecal matter in the water supply particularly endanger infants, children, and pregnant women, who are vulnerable to dangerous intestinal diseases.
Electricity cuts impact access to clean water as well. Currently, most Gazans face electricity cuts of at least 12 hours per day. During the cuts, water systems are inoperational, preventing Palestinians from accessing potable water unless they purchase expensive tankered water, which many cannot afford.
Sami Matar, Anera’s water projects coordinator in Gaza, says, “Imagine not being sure if the water your child drinks is contaminated. No one should be in that situation. That’s why this project to expand access to safe drinking water to thousands of people is so important.”
Schools, community centers, and hospitals have the greatest need for sustainable infrastructure interventions, as they provide water access points serving their wider communities. Anera’s program will establish free sources of water that are safe for drinking, sanitation, and hygiene to ensure access for even the most vulnerable community members.
Anera is installing reverse units at Al Azhar University in Gaza City, the Palestine Football Stadium in Gaza City, a water well in Al Moghraqa – a neighborhood in southern Gaza City, and Al-Rahma Association for Charitable Activities in Jabalia. The project builds upon previous work, such as the water tank with a community fountain at Al-Rahma, funded by Muslim Aid UK. This tank was previously filled with water purchased from a private vendor, but will now be supplied by the new RO unit.
Reverse osmosis is a water treatment process that removes contaminants from water by using pressure to force water molecules through a semipermeable membrane. During the process, the contaminants are filtered out and flushed away, leaving clean drinking water. Anera installs solar panels to power the systems, ensuring the sustainability of this intervention during frequent power cuts and saving clinics and hospitals from investing in expensive generators.
SAMI MATAR IS AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF INTERVIEWS
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Since 1968, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.
About Muslim Aid USA
Muslim Aid is an international relief and development organization that endeavors to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for communities in need. The faith-based American international charity provides aid regardless of race, religion or gender identity to those who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, discrimination, homelessness, debt, unemployment, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.