Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Gaza Will Take Years to Recover" -- ICRC

Katharina Ritz (International Committee of the Red Cross):
"Gaza will take several years at the very least to recover from the Israeli military campaign. This is the best case scenario, assuming that the border crossings are opened permanently and all the necessary aid and help is allowed in unhindered.

But before the reconstruction can even commence it is essential for the remaining Israeli ordnances left over from the war to be cleared away to ensure the safety of the population....

The threat of the outbreak of disease due to contaminated water is still a concern as raw sewage is flowing through the streets of parts of Gaza.

An embankment of a main sewage treatment dam in the Zeitoun area of Gaza City collapsed during the fighting, causing sewage to flow into agricultural fields. This was exacerbated by rotting animal carcasses and the corpses of Gazans buried underneath rubble.

Emergency teams have started repairs to the sewage and water treatment plants. Our contractor has managed to isolate this dam and is repairing the embankment.

For over a year Gaza's Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) has been forced to pump tons of untreated sewage into the sea, which filtered back into the underground water table, contaminating drinking supplies....

All the humanitarian aid in the world will not alleviate the human suffering if a political resolution to the conflict is not found."

Read an interview with Katharina Ritz, head of the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), posted on the Electronic Intifada,