Gaza Electricity Crisis Endangers Israeli Environment, Officials Say

YERUSHALAYIM -
Gaza City is seen in the background near the border fence between Israel and Gaza (foreground). (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

As the electricity crisis in Gaza continues, Israeli communities in the Gaza border area have noticed an increase in sewage flows in a local stream. The sewage brings along with it an increased health risk – as well as a bad odor. Residents have complained about the situation, and they are appealing to the government to do something about it.

Nachal Chanun is where Gaza authorities are apparently dumping their sewage, after the effluent processing plant was shut down due to a lack of electricity. The increase in sewage is attracting insects, including mosquitoes, and officials are concerned that diseases like West Nile Virus could develop.

Last week, Muhammad Tabat, the Gaza official in charge of the Strip’s power, said that without full power, an ecological disaster could emerge. “Our water pumps for sewage processing barely work as it is, and much sewage ends up in the sea. That sewage could end up in Ashkelon or Ashdod, so this crisis is likely to affect you directly as well,” Tabat said.

Reports Monday said that Israel had, as promised, begun cutting power flows to Gaza. That cut has been minimal – no more than 6.6 percent, with the Israel Electric Company withholding 8 megawatts out of the usual 120 sent to Gaza. Gaza sources Tuesday said that Egypt had agreed to supply Gaza with diesel fuel to operate local electric generators. The sources said that Egypt had agreed to provide enough fuel to allow the generators to operate 24 hours a day. However, it is not clear if those supplies have been delivered yet.