Mohammed Rezeq woke up the day following the IDF operation in the eastern part of Abasan Al Kabira in Gaza to inspect his house.
When he found the east wall of his bungalow perforated by heavy machine-gun bullets, he immediately knew the water supply was interrupted. “Living here became unbearable and I had to take my wife and kids to a safer place, away from the border,” said Mohammed, pointing to the damaged water pipe near his bungalow.
This neighborhood of Abasan Al Kabira is 500 meters from the border with Israel. It is home to 3,000 Palestinians, who work mostly as farmers. Caught in the crossfire, many of the Palestinian farmers and their families had to flee their homes. When they returned, they found there was no water. The water network had been damaged and many of their water tanks had been pierced by shrapnel, which made the problem even worse. So, they had to leave again.
“Our life was miserable without water. I had to bring water to my house on a donkey cart or a bicycle,” said Iyad Qudeih, 33 and a father of three. “Even taking a shower became a wish.”
ANERA responds to Gaza water emergency
With funding from USAID’s Emergency Water and Sanitation Program (EWAS), ANERA quickly responded to the emergency by cooperating with local contractors to repair and replace the damaged water and sewage networks—restoring water to Gaza families.
Aiman Al-Qarra, 35, is a mother of two boys and two girls. On the night of the incursion, she took shelter with her husband and kids because of the intense firing in their area. “The following morning, we discovered our tank was punctured by the machine-gun bullets”, she said. The water supply at Aiman’s house was not cut off but it was intermittent at best.
ANERA’s work has helped 3,000 people in Abasan Al Kabira restore not only water supply but also the sense of normalcy to their lives, which was shattered by the violence.
“We lost hope of having water running again after we knew what had happened to the network, but with ANERA’s project, it’s all over now and we can enjoy taking showers again,” added Iyad Qudeih, another resident, full of excitement.