Islamic Relief aid worker Mohammed discusses how fuel and water shortages are impacting on every aspect of life in Gaza.
It is day 25 of the conflict in the Gaza Strip. The death toll has reached more than 1,400 – and as a number I can’t just take it in. I have to remind myself that these people had names, families, stories, hopes and dreams. They may have loved football, tennis, or swimming. For certain, they are human beings – just like us – who have left an empty space in the hearts of their friends and relatives.
I write less frequently now, because of the electricity problems here. The main power station was hit a few days ago. This is the fourth day without any electricity whatsoever. Now, every house is suffering the consequences of this total blackout. We do not have a chance to learn the news or surf the internet to check whether our friends and family are okay. The blackout has started to affect water supplies and sanitation too.
Clean drinking water is hard to find
Already, there are problems in accessing clean water. There is no drinking water supplied to homes here. People buy water from tankers or supermarkets, but the tankers have run out of petrol and deliveries are few and far between. Without the power station, the water desalination plant has stopped working.
The water that is supplied to Gaza homes is suitable for washing, but without electricity we have no power to pump water to the watertanks on the top of our buildings so we do not have access to any. I asked my father how he is managing.
“One of our neighbours opens his water well every other day, and he allows us to fill our tanks,” he told me. “We can’t drink it of course, so we still call for the water tankers – but they say it is too dangerous to come.”
Fuel shortages will become even more acute
Yesterday, I fixed my generator. It has not been running for more than a year, since fuel became too expensive. I needed to run it to at least recharge my mobile and run our home desalination unit for some drinking water. As soon as my neighbours heard the sound of the generator, they all wanted to charge their mobiles. There were more than ten of them plugged in.
However, generators run on fuel and if this conflict does not stop soon the fuel shortage in Gaza will become even more acute.
Regular life has ground to a halt in Gaza
Now, every aspect of life is affected. There are no normal days. Every regular activity has stopped. We used to buy vegetables for the whole week. Yesterday we only bought three items, as the refrigerator is not working and vegetables will spoil. There are fewer vegetables and other basic foods in Gaza than ever before – and if you can find them, they are double the usual price.
It is very hard now. I can see people with bags full of clothes as they flee their homes in search of safety. I can see children carrying buckets, looking for clean drinking water. The number of people displaced continues to increase. We all need to see a swift end to this conflict.
Please support our work to provide emergency relief and life-saving aid to Palestinians caught up in the conflict: Donate to our Palestine Emergency Appeal today.Donate