Friday, 5 September 2014

Gazans dig wells after ceasefire as water shortage bites


After two weeks with no water following Israel's 50-day offensive, Abu Osama took matters into his own hands, and like hundreds of others, sank a well beside his Gaza home.

After nearly two months of Israeli bombardment, power cuts and water shortages, he seized upon the ceasefire to get down to work.

"Water supplied by the municipality had not been arriving for more than two weeks and there were 50 of us in the house, including many children, so I decided to sink a well" to draw water directly, the 45-year-old said.

Water shortages are nothing new for Palestinians in the densely populated Gaza Strip enclave, and more and more people have been digging their own wells since 2006.

Israel imposed a severe blockade on the territory that year after Hamas was democratically elected into power.

Since then "more than 10,000 wells have been dug," said Monzer Shoblak, an official in Gaza's water authority.

"All these wells were dug without legal authorization, but without them may people would not have water throughout the day," he said.

But this direct access to water comes at a cost, and Abu Osama, who did not give his full name, had to shell out 2,000 Jordanian Dinars ($2,820) to dig and maintain his well. more

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