Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gaza: Five years under aggressive Israeli blockade

Gaza: Five years under aggressive Israeli blockade
Aug 19, 2012 |

Oxfam released a report detailing the tragedy of the blockade on the Gaza Strip that has left so many families lives destroyed. For five years, the 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under a blockade imposed on security grounds by the government of Israel in violation of international law. The situation is particularly precarious for Gaza's children, who make up around half of the enclave's population and for whom particular public health threats from unsafe water have been identified.

Gaza's sole water source, the aquifer, is contaminated with dangerous levels of chlorides, nitrates and other pollutants, some far in excess of WHO guideline values, the result of long-standing water security, sanitation and environmental crises. Also, with sea water seeping into the aquifer as more underground water is extracted, most of the water reaching households is salinated. Tap water is unsafe to drink. Microbiological water contamination, mainly from sewage seeping into the aquifer, is pervasive and responsible for high incidents of diarrhoea and other water-associated diseases in Gaza's children under five in particular.

34 percent of Gaza's workforce, including half its youth, is unemployed, since the blockade started in 2007, nearly 30 percent of Gaza's businesses have closed and an additional 15 percent have laid-off 80 percent of their staff. Without opportunities to earn their own income, 80 percent of Palestinians in Gaza now receive humanitarian aid (much of which is food aid). Some aid recipients owned businesses before the blockade began.

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