‘Facilities Compromised’ – UNRWA Says Gaza Families Forced to Drink Seawater

A Palestinian child carrying her plastic container after fetching some water in Rafah. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Gaza’s children spend hours collecting water and food, and walk long distances “amid piles of accumulated waste that could be covering UXOs unexploded ordinances.”

Children in the besieged Gaza Strip can spend up to eight hours per day collecting water and food, with thousands of families forced to rely on seawater to wash, clean and even drink, according to the UN relief agency UNRWA.

“Children in Gaza can spend 6-8 hours a day collecting water & food, often carrying heavy weights & walking long distances,” the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees said on X on Saturday.

UNRWA warned that sanitation facilities and infrastructure “are severely compromised,” forcing thousands of families “to rely on seawater to wash, clean & even drink.”

The agency pointed out that nearly 250,000 people in the enclave have been displaced “yet again” following new evacuation orders by Israeli authorities earlier this week.

“They have nowhere safe to go,” said UNRWA, “This continuous cycle of displacement and despair must stop.”

Child Killed by UXOs

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said people “desperately search for nonexistent safety, setting up makeshift structures often in the rubble of bombed-out buildings. The risk of unexploded ordnance (UXO) is spreading.”

Lazzarini said a nine-year-old girl was “reportedly killed by UXO” a week ago in Khan Yunis and another six children were injured.

He emphasized that the risk for children “is especially high.”

They spend hours collecting water and food, and walk long distances “amid piles of accumulated waste that could be covering UXOs.”

He stressed that “this continuous cycle of displacement”, constantly being in “survival mode & despair” must stop, adding “No more delay for the long overdue Ceasefire Now.”

Over 38,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 38,098 Palestinians have been killed, and 87,705 wounded. Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Later in the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians began moving from the south to central Gaza in a constant search for safety.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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