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

17 January 2018 |
Area C community of Khan al Ahmar. Photo by UNRWA

I am deeply concerned about the significant reduction in funding for UNRWA, which is critical to the provision of humanitarian assistance in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Some 2.5 million Palestinians in this area, or about half of the population, need humanitarian aid, including 1.4 million Palestine refugees, who are among the most vulnerable groups in the oPt. The reduction is particularly worrying against the backdrop of an overall decline in humanitarian funding in the oPt in recent years.

15 December 2017 |
Resident of Jinba community (Massafer Yatta) transporting water, November 2017.© Photo by OCHA

Intense military training exercises over the past two months and the obstruction of key access routes have exacerbated the coercive environment imposed on approximately 1,300 residents of 12 Palestinian herding communities in southern Hebron.

15 December 2017 |
Children on their way back from school, during floods in Gaza city, January 2015. © Photo by Wissam Nassar

In the Gaza Strip, another winter season brings with it the threat of temporary displacement, property losses and health risks due to flooding and poor housing conditions. Insufficient funding, import restrictions, the ongoing energy crisis and the limited capacity of the Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD) are key factors that hinder the ability of the relevant actors to reduce vulnerability and respond effectively.

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.