November 25, 2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli war minister Ehud Barak decided late Monday to retain the Gaza crossings closed on Tuesday at the pretext of Palestinian rocket attacks, while the popular committee against the siege warned of an imminent health disaster due to the depletion of chlorine used to disinfect drinking water.
Palestinian and international officials warned that the humanitarian crisis would be aggravated if Israel continued to close the crossings.
Despite the small quantities of fuel and food trucks allowed in the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian situation is worsening, where the power station and sewage treatment plants have shut down because of lack of fuel and a health disaster is looming on the horizon after chlorine pumped into water wells ran out.
Dr. Bassem Naim, the health minister, said that Gaza faces a real humanitarian crisis which cannot be mitigated through such Israeli ruses, in reference to the shrunk number of trucks allowed in Gaza.
MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, underlined that halting the pumping of chlorine in the water wells means an increase in bacterial contamination of drinking water which will result in a massive health disaster.
MP Khudari pointed out that Gaza needs 60 cubic meters of chlorine per month, but its stock of this substance is zero because of the closure of crossings.
The lawmaker also reported that the sewage treatment plants completely stopped working because of power breakdown and lack of diesel needed to run generators, noting that 77 million liters of sewage are pumped daily into the sea without treatment causing environmental pollution.
He added that the sewage pumping stations would stop as well which would make large areas of Gaza flooded with wastewater.
Secretary-general of GCC Abdelrahman Al-Attiyah on Monday called for stopping the unjust Israeli siege on Gaza, urging the international community to shoulder its political and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinian people.
Attiyah stressed the need to pressure Israel to stop its violation of international law through its aggression, settlement activities, judaization of occupied Jerusalem and closure of crossings.
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