Skip to content

No Fuel for Gaza Means Death by Lack of Water

The October 2023 issue of Hydro Politics, the newsletter of the Ankara-based Hydropolitics Association, rings the alarm about the catastrophic water conditions in Gaza.

The newsletter quotes Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), who warned that more than 2 million people living in the Gaza Strip are at risk, due to the water cut-off. Hydro Politics quotes Lazzarini as stating that fuel has to be delivered to Gaza immediately in order to provide water to its more than 2 million people. “This situation has turned into a matter of life and death. … We now need to transport fuel to Gaza. The only way for people to have safe drinking water is fuel. Otherwise, many people, including children, women and the elderly, will start dying of thirst. Water is the last remaining lifeline. I call for the immediate lifting of the siege on humanitarian aid,” he concludes.

The newsletter also runs an Oct. 17 article from Just Security by Mark Zeitoun, Professor of Water Diplomacy at the Graduate Institute of Geneva. Zeitoun underscores the intimate connection between energy and water: “The causal chain is simple. Water systems are damaged, raw sewage mixes in, people ingest and transmit whatever strains of disease exist. A review of the evidence shows spikes of acute diarrhea mapped directly with the attacks on Gaza in 2014, and the cholera outbreak in Yemen that killed over 3,000 people in 2018 was similarly predicted.

“So too were the hundreds of thousands of cases of both cholera and diarrhea linked to the quality of drinking water in Basra, Iraq, by 2017—and the deadly protests that followed. The same pattern is apparent in Ukraine and Syria, as well….

“As argued in Just Security earlier this year, the base of evidence for—and foreseeability of these links between damaged water systems and the spread of disease increases with time, as when one party to a conflict controls the territory of another.

This post is for paying subscribers only


Already have an account? Sign In