Safer water means healthier lives in Gaza

“We have been provided with water tank, and since the good water was delivered, my daughter’s worm has vanished,” Jamila Abu Toyor, 31, from Al-Shawka area southern-east Gaza

In Al-Shawka village in southern Gaza, where its 12 thousand people have lived through three wars in just five years, clean water was once scarce.
Jameila Abu Toyor, a mother of four, was forced to use polluted water for her family for years. She said the poor quality of the water was the reason she and her children were often sick.

“My eldest girl was suffered every year from a worm disease.” “I used to go to my family members and my neighbours to try and find water that was safe to drink,” Jameila says.

The ongoing blockade in Gaza, now in its ninth year, means peoples’ economic opportunities are decreasing and it’s often difficult for Jameila’s husband to find a job, who relies on temporary and seasonal work to be able to feed their family. Despite these challenges, Jameila is committed to providing the best home and care she can for her children.

Two girls are holding the hose coming from the drinkable water truck to their family tank. Photo by: Eyad Albaba. Oxfam, January 2016.

Two girls are holding the hose coming from the drinkable water truck to their family tank. Photo by: Eyad Albaba. Oxfam, January 2016.

Right now, 96 % of water in the Gaza Strip does not meet the World Heath Organisations standards. High levels of contamination and salinization due to over-pumping means the only way families can get clean, safe, water has been through private water carriers who sell water to neighbourhoods. But if you are one of the hundreds of families like Jamelia’s, this option is expensive and more often than not, unaffordable.

To make sure every family in the Gaza Strip has access to clean water, Oxfam and ECHO have supplied water trucks that regularly deliver safe, accessible, drinking water to vulnerable communities. The families have also received water tanks for storage to make sure each home had a steady supply of clean water.

Jameila says the combination of the water tanks and Oxfam/ ECHO water deliveries have made huge changes to the health and wellbeing of her entire family. “ Since the good water was delivered, my daughters worms have vanished” she says.

A field monitor from Palestinian Environment Friends (PEF), capturing a quick response (QR) code on the beneficiary ‘s water voucher. Photo by: Eyad Albaba. Oxfam, January 2016.

A field monitor from Palestinian Environment Friends (PEF), capturing a quick response (QR) code on the beneficiary ‘s water voucher. Photo by: Eyad Albaba. Oxfam, January 2016.

The importance of hygiene and maintenance, especially for the tanks, is an important part of the project, so the water can remain uncontaminated. Environmental educators from Oxfam partner organisations visit homes and discuss safe water issues, with all of Jameila’s family members she says “we are receiving a regular hygiene kits, which have items that we couldn’t afford, and I clean the water tank often”

Jamila Abu Toyor, holding her 18-month son, while he is drinking a glass of water. Photo by: Iyad Albaba. Oxfam, January 2016.

Jamila Abu Toyor, holding her 18-month son, while he is drinking a glass of water. Photo by: Iyad Albaba. Oxfam, January 2016.

Oxfam and its partners in Gaza are committed to combating poverty, and working to provide basic rights such as clean, accessible water, which are essential to allow Palestinians to live in Gaza in safety and with dignity.

Jameila says all she wants for her family and community are safer, healthier lives “we just need to live in peace”, she says

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