Water catastrophe looms in Gaza as Israel steps up airstrikes

NBC News reports: A humanitarian catastrophe looms in the Gaza Strip due to a lack of water, aid agencies warned as Israel intensified air attacks on Wednesday and ordered 100,000 Palestinians to evacuate border areas.

Airstrikes have caused massive damage to water and sewage infrastructure and have destroyed at least 560 homes, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said as it declared an emergency in the area.

“Within days, the entire population of the Strip may be desperately short of water,” Jacques de Maio, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Israel and the occupied territories, said in a statement. If hostilities continue, just as temperatures soar in the region, “the question is not if but when an already beleaguered population will face an acute water crisis,” he said.

“Water is becoming contaminated and sewage is overflowing, bringing a serious risk of disease,” de Maio added.

At a news briefing, ICRC spokeswoman Nada Doumani said: “Water is a problem and it can quickly turn into a catastrophe.” [Continue reading…]

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