With funding from Islamic Relief USA, Anera installed sewage and water infrastructure in Zeitoun, Gaza to end years of flooding as well as connect homes to water for the first time.
In Gaza, overcrowded neighborhoods suffer the most when it comes to the lack of sewage infrastructure, triggering health and environment risks. “The lack of safe water has increased the risk of children getting skin diseases, poisoning, and other water related diseases,” says grandmother and Zeitoun resident Jamila. Unfortunately, Jamila’s grandchildren get sick multiple times a year as a result of unclean and unsafe water in Gaza. “Summer brought insects and bad smells, while winter brings flooding and fills the streets with sewage. I worry the most when kids are coming down the road from school and have to walk through the sewage to reach our home. Sadly, we have no other options!” she exclaims.
This neighborhood, as in many small communities in Gaza, lack wastewater infrastructure and has unpaved roads. For many years the 90 families living in this area would use septic tanks to discharge waste. When the tanks overflowed, contaminated water would be discharged into the main road. Fortunately, with funding from Islamic Relief USA, Anera was able to step in and install new sewage and water infrastructure in Zeitoun to end years of flooding as well as connect homes to water for the first time.
Ending Flooding & Providing Hygiene Kits in Zeitoun, Gaza
“The old infrastructure was so terrible. We would ask workers several times to come and empty the septic tanks. For years our home was literally soaked in sewage! How could we be expected to continue with this unbearable situation?” exclaims Ibtisam, mother of five and resident of Zeitoun, where Anera installed the new sewage lines.
She continues excitedly, “Our road couldn't handle the amount of sewage that was flooding into the street. It had been going on for at least 17 years, as long as I have been in this area. When we heard about construction trucks coming to fix the roads, I just had to look out the window and watch these improvements finally being made in our community.”
Referring to the donated hygiene kits Anera distributed as part of the infrastructure program, she adds, “We often choose food over personal cleaning supplies. Stuff like this is a luxury. My kids used to bathe using dishwashing detergent. Now each of them has shampoo and a toothbrush which they have marked with their names.”
Through an Anera public health officer, Ibtisam and other women in her community have gained valuable knowledge about infections and diseases as well as other health issues through public health sessions. “In our community, education is low, so it is essential to get this information and spread it all over the neighborhood,” says Ibtisam.
Since its inception in May 2017, under funding from Islamic Relief USA, Anera has renovated and fixed 3 water wells, built 7 reliable water connections, 10 wastewater networks, 2 storm-water drainage networks, in addition to providing 165 public health sessions and 4,190 hygiene kits throughout Gaza. This project has reached to a total 40,561 people.