The municipality of Gaza yesterday announced that it would start reducing its services gradually in order to avoid a complete collapse due to the budget deficit which has resulted from the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“This step was adopted in order to give an opportunity to continue offering our services as long as possible using the given abilities,” the Municipality said in a statement.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) April 25, 2020
The municipality said that this decision came 52 days after Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration of the state of emergency in the Palestinian territories as part of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
“Many parties gave up their responsibilities towards the besieged Gaza Strip at the time of economic deterioration and a decline in the number of people who pay their bills for the municipality’s services,” the statement said.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) April 27, 2020
According to the statement, the municipality said that the collection of rubbish from the streets would be affected by this decision, calling for people to reduce their waste.
The sterilization of public spaces has “exhausted the budget”, municipality officials said.
“The truth is, no amount of ‘preparedness’ in Gaza – or, frankly, anywhere in occupied Palestine – can stop the spread of the Coronavirus,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.
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▼Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. pic.twitter.com/Fq0C2bJnCV
— KAKAPO➤Endangered (@178kakapo) April 2, 2020
“What is needed is a fundamental and structural change that would emancipate the Palestinian healthcare system from the horrific impact of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli government’s policies of perpetual siege and politically-imposed ‘quarantines’ – also known as apartheid,” Baroud added.
With 13 coronavirus cases already confirmed in the Gaza Strip, hospitals that were once overwhelmed by gunshot wounds and amputations are now gearing up for a very different challenge in a densely populated, coastal enclave of two million Palestinians, many living in refugee camps.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)