daily life Gaza

forced to walk through sewage

Mohammed Salem, Reuters

Mohammed Salem, Reuters

The Palestinians of Gaza continue to suffer silently. Not only:

-12-18 hour power outages (depending on where in the Strip they live)

-critical shortages of medicines (40% of essential drugs): “We’re not talking here about luxury medications — and by luxury I mean medications that will treat conditions that will kill you in five years or ten years. We’re talking about essential medication.

We’re using medications that my colleagues in Canada have only used if they’ve been in practice since the ’60s. So yes, we have a deep and desperate shortage there. The shortages of medications, the shortages of supplies — especially what we would call “consumables.”

I rarely have the sutures that I want available for the patients when I need them. I rarely have the correct-sized chest tubes. Sutures are how you sew people up together, chest tubes are the things that you put into peoples’ chests when they’ve been shot in the chest or when they’re bleeding in the chest or when there’s water, air in the chest for other reasons.

-”88 Kidney dialysis devices will stop working [endangering 500 dialysis patients], 45 rooms equipped for urgent cases will close, the ICU in the main hospital of Gaza will close, and five blood banks and tens of medical labs will also close. In addition, three mass refrigerators for keeping children’s vaccines and 113 nurseries will close, as will refrigerators for sensitive drugs and x-ray centres. In fact, all service departments are under the threat of closure.”[Nov 7, 2013]

-a shortage of cooking gas (the main means of cooking) and fuel (which combined with power outages render hospitals extremely vulnerable, as fuel is necessary for the back-up generators, which themselves are not meant to run for 8, 10, 12 hour stretches… think life support machinery and prenatal wards, and even simple hygienic laundry work).

-soaring unemployment and manufactured poverty

-the Zionist army shooting at Palestinian farmers and fishers

-random Zionist army bombings

-constant drone presence, constant presence of Zionist warplanes, tanks, and warships

-a ban on construction materials, (meaning the 10,000 … and the 70,000 dependent on the construction sector for their livelihoods, as well as 18 UN projects on education, health, water, and electricity now at risk.

-95% of water in Gaza is not drinkable

…Any one of these factors, prolonged, would make life in, say, Canada unbearable.  But all of these factors… and more?

But the latest insult and danger is the overflowing sewage flooding the streets.  Completely and utterly preventable, were Palestinians allowed to maintain their sewage holding pools, expand them, maintain the lines, treat the sewage. Instead, its pumped into the sea at a rate of 90 million litres a day, and in this case is overflowing into the streets of Gaza.  In 2007, Umm Nasr, a village in northern Gaza was flooded by sewage overflow, killing 5 people.

**notice the LOVE so evident between friends and siblings, the laughter and pride, despite despicable circumstances.

see also: Gaza power outages cause environmental crisis

Frustratingly, these are not new circumstances:

Israeli Siege on Gaza Causes Waste Crisis

notes on Palestine’s preventable water and food crises

Gaza out of the spotlight…and out of power, gasoline, and cooking gas for that matter

fish hiya: no life

Israel’s threat to cut Gaza water supply would be “complete catastrophe”

Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis

lucky to have water

Suffocating Under Siege, Gaza Welcomes Tourism

beach

First Published at Inter Press Services –by Eva Bartlett

(IPS) – “We wanted to help foreigners in Gaza, so we created an English map of Gaza City,” says Amir Shurrab, one of the minds behind the foldable Gaza Tourist Map.

At the time a lecturer for the University College of Applied Sciences (UCAS), Shurrab led a team of Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals and students in mapping Gaza City street by street in 2009. “GIS drawing is usually aided by satellites, but the Israeli occupation authorities prevented us from using the nearest satellite,” says Shurrab. “So we used one further away.

“We also wanted to share Gaza’s beauty and culture, to show a different face from what is seen in the media,” says Shurrab, referring to the images of Palestinians maimed and killed by Israeli bombings and shootings.

The map, also available on the Internet, is a cheery rendition of Gaza City’s highlights, and also optimistically depicts fishing boats in Gaza’s sea, an irony for Palestinian fishers daily targeted with shooting, shelling and abductions by the occupying Israeli navy.
CONTINUE READING

excerpts from life in Gaza

subway

Driving to Gaza one morning, the shared taxi enters a traffic jam outside the UN school. The street is jammed with children, cars trying to butt ahead, a motorcycle sitting in the middle of the mess, clogging everything.

“The police are there when you don’t need them, not there when you need them,” grumbles the driver.

Roadside vegetable vendors: spinach, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, oranges imported from Egypt because the vast majority of Gaza’s trees have long since been bulldozed by the Zionists.

A young man jogs along the sand, past beached fishing boats. Those boats that have ventured the few kilometres out, risking Zionist navy attacks, are not visible through the heavy fog descending. Hassaka fishers 1/2 km out, valiantly fighting choppy water and cold for whatever meagre catch can haul in. CONTINUE READING

days in Gaza

dabobFog at 6:30 one morning, the beginning of a hot day, leading to the beginning of a hot season. 

At around 5 am, long after the Azzan (call to prayer) has sounded from various surrounding mosques for the early morning prayer, but still before sunrise, my brother-in-law’s family in the apartment below turn on Quranic recitations—technically not considered music but soothingly melodic nonetheless—as they get their kids ready for school, which they go to in two shifts, starting very early, because all of Gaza’s schools are massively over-crowded.

In the random times when I get up during these quiet hours, I revel in the sounds almost devoid of human noise…no honking taxis, children playing soccer in the streets, street sellers circulating goods…(there’s about a 2 hour window of reverie before these all begin anew).

On many days, I hear the sea’s waves a few hundred metres away rebound off our walls, doves cooing, small birds flitting, roosters, a nearby horse, palm leaves in the wind. It is a tranquility you don’t get after Gaza wakes up, and must wait for till the late hours, after whatever wedding party has stopped blasting celebratory music and stray cats have stopped their mating screams. CONTINUE READING