Kızılay working for Gaza reconstruction against all odds

Kızılay, which started working to provide water to Gaza residents around a year ago, will eventually replace around 80 percent of the water supply network.

January 04, 2010, Monday/ 16:54:00
The Turkish Red Crescent Society (Kızılay) has continued to contribute to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, which was heavily damaged last winter by a deadly offensive by Israel, despite difficulties stemming from Israel’s blockade of the region.

Israel launched its devastating three-week campaign of air strikes and ground incursions on Dec. 27, 2008, saying the operation was meant to stop years of rocket attacks from Gaza. The offensive eventually left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many civilians, and brought heavy international criticism upon Israel, including accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by a United Nations investigation. Thirteen Israelis were also killed in the conflict, and Hamas also faces war crimes allegations.

Kızılay, which started working to provide water to Gaza residents around a year ago, aims to eventually replace around 80 percent of the water supply network, which was destroyed during the offensive, the Anatolia news agency reported Sunday in an article posted from Gaza.

Israel’s offensive led to $4.2 million in damage to Gaza’s water supply network. Water rehabilitation projects being carried out by Kızılay will renew 79 percent of this damaged network, at a cost of around $3.3 million, Anatolia said.

At the moment, Kızılay is carrying out six separate water rehabilitation projects. Kızılay has already reached water in two of the three wells it has been drilling, while it is continuing exploration at a third site. All three wells are located in the city of Rafah.

Meanwhile, work on repairing a five-kilometer-long water supply network in Rafah has been largely completed. At the moment, 94 percent of the network has been repaired. In the north of Gaza, near Jabaliya, the installation of a 4.8-kilometer-long water distribution channel is 70 percent complete.

An executive working for the company involved in exploration work told Anatolia that they have from time to time experienced difficulty finding necessary materials due to the blockade. He added that they eventually purchased those materials in Egypt and had them bought through the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.

Hakan Günbulut, a Kızılay executive working in Gaza, meanwhile, said they have more projects to be implemented in the region for water rehabilitation. However, they have been unable to start them because of the difficulty in obtaining supplies, he added.

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