Finding clean water for bathing, drinking, cooking and hygiene in Gaza is a daily challenge.
“Water is essential for life. It plays a crucial role in determining the quality of our lives,” explains Rawda Azaam, a resident of Al Mughraqa in the Middle Area of Gaza.
Living without water has harshly affected Rawda’s life. The mother of three children describes the Gaza water crisis as catastrophic. “We used to get water once every 10 days. There was no consistent schedule and the erratic time just added another burden.”
The trips Rawda’s family had to make just to gain to access water were long and never-ending. “If we called the truck to supply us with potable water, it would cost us slightly more than walking on foot to fetch it ourselves from a nearby water station.” She says it was always troublesome and costly.
It is a huge relief to wake up in the morning, turn on the tap and see the water come out immediately.
Water shortages in Gaza have changed a family’s social customs too. “Visiting a relative was not only social. We often opted to visit those who have water available, so we could all take a quick bath.” Rawda admits she was always uncomfortable in those situations.
New Water Connections for Many Gaza Towns
With ANERA’s help and funding from Islamic Relief USA, Rawda’s neighborhood is now connected to a new water network. That means Rawda’s family and another 500 residents finally have access to a reliable source of water.
The water connection is one of 18 Urgent Water Systems Repair projects ANERA has completed with funding from Islamic Relief. The program has also provided more than 60 job opportunities in Gaza, where four out of ten workers can’t find a job.
During hot summers, when the need for water in Gaza soars, people try to conserve water in their home water tanks to use sparingly through the week. “It is a huge relief to wake up in the morning, turn on the tap and see the water come out immediately. During the hot months of summer, and especially during the fasting month of Ramadan, the water is a relief because it cools our bodies and our souls,” she said.
As Rawda bathed her five-year-old son, she sighed with relief. She says the new connection to her home means water is one less challenge for her community. “Now I can clean the house, wash dishes, give my children a daily bath instead of every 10 days.” With a big smile, Rawda adds, “To me this is the gift of a lifetime.”