UN warns of an imminent waterborne disease outbreak in Gaza

The water system shutdown has left most of the Palestinian population drinking contaminated water.

UN warns of an imminent waterborne disease outbreak in Gaza

The head of an aid group in Gaza has warned the besieged territory faces ‘imminent’ outbreaks water borne diseases.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Palestine (UNWRA), said an increase of skin diseases are also impacting the people of Gaza – which he said was unsurprising considering the unsanitary conditions in the enclave.

He described the situation for most as ‘desperate’ as ‘people are lacking everything’ as Gaza has only received 10% of its required food supplies each day in shipments from Egypt.

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The water system shutdown has left most of the Palestinian population drinking contaminated water.

Dehydration and malnutrition are also growing, according to the UN’s World Food Program.

Palestinian children wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are treated at al Aqsa Hospital on Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Marwan Saleh)
The situation in Gaza continues to worsen by the day (Picture: AP)
This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing after an Israeli strike in north Gaza on November 22, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)
The enclave is continually bombarded (Picture: AFP)

The UN was forced to stop deliveries of food and other necessities to Gaza late last week, and warned of the growing risk of widespread starvation after internet and phone services collapsed due to lack of fuel.

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Mr Lazzarini said he was in ‘full admiration’ of the UN staff who have endured terrifying experiences while working with the people living in Gaza.

He reassured the press that ‘UNRWA will stay. UNRWA has stayed. And we will scale up our footprint, scale up our presence, scale up our activities.’

Weeks of devastating Israel airstrikes in Gaza, followed by a ground invasion, have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

It does not differentiate between civilians and militants, though some two-thirds of the dead have been identified as women and minors.

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