HotSpots H2O, August 27: Gaza Fuel Shortage Could Shut Down Hospitals, Water, and Sanitation Facilities

The Rundown

Fuel, medicine, and other essentials are running low in the Gaza Strip, threatening to force the closure of hundreds of health, water, and sanitation facilities. The shortages come amid increasing unrest between Israel and Hamas, the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip. In retaliation against recent Hamas violence, Israel halted gas and fuel deliveries at a key Gaza border crossing between August 1 and August 14. The blockade has been lifted, but fuel and medicine remain in short supply. Humanitarian groups, which play a key role in providing fuel to Gaza, are calling for an increase in international aid.

“Life-saving services in the Gaza Strip rely heavily on donor-funded emergency fuel. We have now run out of funds and are delivering the final supplies in the next few days. Without funds to enable ongoing deliveries, service providers will be forced to suspend, or heavily reduce, operations from early September, with potentially grave consequences.” –Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territory. If international donors fail to intervene, McGoldrick believes a disease outbreak or other public health crisis is likely.

By The Numbers

250 Health, water, and sanitation facilities that receive emergency fuel from the United Nations and other aid groups. These facilities are at risk of shutting down amid fuel shortages.  

41 Main sewage stations in Gaza that will shut down if fuel runs out, which would leave more than half the population at risk of sewage overflows.

4,800 Palestinians in intensive care units. Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are at risk of collapse.

$4.5 million Amount required to guarantee that essential services can function through the end of 2018.

4 percent Proportion of Gaza’s water that is currently safe to drink.

13 Palestinians civilians killed while protesting in the Gaza Strip in recent months.

On The Radar

According to the United Nations, $4.5 million is needed to keep Gaza’s health, water, and sanitation facilities operating until the end of the year. This estimate comes alongside an announcement by the Trump administration that it will slash $200 million in U.S. aid for Palestinians. Aid groups say that the withdrawal of funds will impact food subsidies, medical treatments, and youth programs. Water projects may also be delayed.

At the same time, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said last week that Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza may soon be eased. Talks between Israel and Hamas about a possible truce intensified in recent weeks. According to Haniya, lifting the blockade may be “just around the corner.”

Resources and Further Reading

Amid Recent Violence, Shortage of Fuel, Medicine in Gaza, Donors Must Scale Up Aid Deliveries, Under-Secretary-General Tells Security Council (Relief Web)
A GAZA FUEL CRISIS COULD SHUT DOWN ESSENTIAL SERVICES, U.N. ENVOY WARNS (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas: End to Israel’s Gaza blockade ‘around the corner’ (Al Jazeera)
US$ 4.5 million needed urgently to prevent life-saving services in the Gaza Strip from shutting down (Relief Web)
U.S. Cuts More Than $200 Million In Aid To Palestinians (NPR)
UK to double aid to Gaza and West Bank in bid to boost Palestinian export trade (The Guardian)

Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter

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