Monday, April 2, 2007

A Filter for Life to Save Children in Gaza

April 2, 2007

By Silvia Cattori

A source of life, water has become a major health problem in Gaza.

After the fear, the hunger, now it’s thirst.

Israel diverts 80% of the water resources in the West Bank and Gaza.

After fifty years of appropriating the most fertile and water rich land in Palestine, Israel is diverting Jordan’s water, which has given rise to reactions on the part of the UN. Since the 60s and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has profited by controlling the water resources of its neighbours. Sixty-five percent of water consumed by Israel comes from deep layers in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and the Golan Heights, annexed by force in 1981.

Since the year 2000, Israel has intensified its pillage of both surface and subterranean water through illegal measures. For example: Israel constructed the so-called “security wall” on the interior of Palestinian lands following the traces of basins of water. They also installed wells up to 500 metres deep all along the Gaza to take up water that from time immemorial flowed in the natural reservoir of Gush-Katif.

The intensive pumping effected by Israel has thrown the hydrostatic balance in disequilibrium. The result: in the Gaza Strip, seawater has infiltrated into the water layer. Today, 90% of the tap water coming from that layer is salty and utterly undrinkable, and homes only have access to water a few hours a day.

In the north of Gaza, where there is no separation between the water layers and dirty water, the sanitary situation linked to contaminated water has become extremely aggravated. The people are forced to drink this water, giving rise to an important increase in associated diseases, above all in children.

Well-to-do Palestinians have the means to buy bottled water. There are many religious charity organizations that have built their own water filtration stations and take it upon themselves to distribute small quantities of water to the most impoverished. Moreover, several municipalities have built their own filtration plants and have installed faucets where people can go to fill their water containers. But this doesn’t cover the entire population.

We think it is important to support the project Drinking Water in order to protect the health of these poorest inhabitants of Gaza, those who are the most touched by malnutrition.

The objective of this small project, A "Filter for Life", is modest but vital.

Contaminated and brackish water compromises the health of tens of thousands of the poorest people who have no other choice but to drink this water. A "Filter for Life" seeks to offer to the families of Gaza that live in the neighbourhoods where the water is dirty and polluted, an individual filter that purifies and desalinates tap water.

Every penny donated will go to the purchase of filters. The first beneficiaries: the poorest families, who because they lack the means to buy bottled water, must drink water that is salty and highly polluted. A donation is a way to protect those who are the most vulnerable, such as children, from a slow death.

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