Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

In the Gaza Strip, the unsustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation exacerbated by the longstanding blockade has been compounded by the 2014 conflict. Problems arising from the prohibition on entry of ‘dual-use’ materials, inadequate power supplies and lack of government regulation have seriously affected the WASH situation in Gaza. The majority of Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank are not connected to the water network or are irregularly supplied by it, forcing people to rely on expensive tankered water. Inadequate water for drinking, domestic consumption and for livestock, is affecting the overall resilience of these communities. The destruction of essential WASH infrastructure lacking building permits generates a coercive environment, and can lead to displacement, poverty and increased risk of disease and illness.

Articles, statements and press releases

10 November 2017 |
Mona filling a bottle of non-potable water from a tank in her yard. © Photo by OXFAM

Ongoing electricity outages of 18-20 hours a day across the Gaza Strip throughout September and October continue to undermine the provision of basic services. In the water, sanitation and hygiene sector (WASH), sustained efforts by humanitarian agencies to provide 154 critical facilities with emergency fuel to run backup generators resulted in a limited improvement in some key indicators during September compared with previous months. There was a modest increase in the quantity of piped water supplied to households and in the functioning of desalination plants, plus a slight decline in the contamination levels of sewage discharged to the sea. Nevertheless, September indicators remain well below the already poor standards recorded during the first quarter of 2017.

5 August 2017 |
Untreated sewage discharged into the Mediterranean Sea. © Photo by OCHA.

In July, humanitarian agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) appealed to the international community to provide US$25 million in humanitarian funding for urgent lifesaving interventions to stabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip.

3 July 2017 |
North Gaza Sewage lagoons. Photo by OCHA, 2017

Humanitarian agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are calling upon the international community to provide US$25 million in new humanitarian funding to stabilize the spiralling humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. In a document presented to diplomats today in Jerusalem, agencies identified top-priority, life-saving interventions in health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security sectors.

3 July 2017 |
North Gaza Sewage lagoons. Photo by OCHA, 2017

Humanitarian agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are calling upon the international community to provide US$25 million in new humanitarian funding to stabilize the spiralling humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. In a document presented to diplomats today in Jerusalem, agencies identified top-priority, life-saving interventions in health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security sectors.

14 June 2017 |
Gaza blackout. Photo by UNICEF SoP / ElBaba, 2017

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper, warned today about the disastrous consequences of a further reduction in electricity-supply to the Gaza Strip on the living conditions of two million Palestinians. He called upon the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel to put the welfare of Gaza’s residents first and to take the necessary measures to avoid further suffering. The UN has already appealed to the international community to support its limited humanitarian efforts to prevent the collapse of vital life-saving, health, water, sanitation and municipal services.

25 May 2017 |
Untreated sewage flowing into the sea, Gaza 27 April 2017. © Photo by OCHA.

On 17 April, Gaza’s sole power plant (GPP) was forced to shut down completely after exhausting its fuel reserves and being unable to replenish them due to a shortage of funds. The shutdown occurred in the context of an ongoing dispute between the Palestinian authorities in Gaza and Ramallah on tax exemption for fuel and revenue collection from electricity consumers.