Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighbourhood comes under Israeli siege

The United Nations children’s fund said Thursday that Israel had agreed to restore power to a key desalination plant in southern Gaza, which could provide much-needed water to a million displaced people.

“UNICEF confirms an agreement (with Israel) was reached to re-establish the medium voltage feeder power line for the Southern Gaza Desalination Plant,” said Jonathan Crickx, the agency’s spokesman in the Palestinian territories.

The plant in Khan Yunis, once resupplied with electricity, should produce enough water to “meet what humanitarian standards define as a minimum intake of 15 litres per day of drinking water per person, for nearly a million displaced people” in southern Gaza, Crickx said.

“This is an important milestone, and we are very much looking forward to seeing it implemented.”

Israel’s coordinator for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, did not immediately respond.

The plant should be able to produce 15,000 cubic metres, or 15 million litres, of water per day at full capacity, according to UNICEF.

Water has become scarce for the Palestinian territory’s 2.4 million residents since war broke out nearly nine months ago.

More than two thirds of Gaza’s sanitation and water facilities have been destroyed or damaged, according to data cited by UN agencies, and only an intermittent supply of bottled water has been allowed in since Israel imposed a punishing siege on the territory.

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