Gaza:A Bare Life Zone nearing to a no-life-zone
With the last Israeli maneuvers' of tightening the siege imposed on Gaza, more life necessities vanished. The key power plant shut down 25 days ago resulted in tremendous direful outcomes. More than 75% of the Gaza strip faces severe power cuts and some areas completely plunged into darkness.
Power cuts and daily blackouts resulted in hindering of all facilities depending on power. The remaining power shares provided by Israel and Egypt are not enough to cover the whole coastal strip. Pumped fresh water is not reaching all living places, farms and central water wells. Sewage and treatment water machines are halted. Additionally around 77 million liters of sewage water leak into the Mediterranean contaminating it and damaging fish resources on daily basis.
According to Popular Committee against Siege PCAS, basic food stuff like milk, flour, food oils, meat, rice and legumes are not available with big quantities. Other needs are not available like raw materials needed to operate small food factories.
Estimates for daily consumption of the following food products in the Gaza Strip are: 867 tons of flour, 153 tons of sugar, 110 tons of rice, 75 tons of different kinds of oil and 49 tons herbs and vegetables. According to crossing administration only 15 % of Gaza needs get in.
A severe shortage of basic medicines is up to 40%. Medicines of diabetes, heart, asthma and other chronic diseases are vanished from Gaza. Additionally, other kind of medicines for Cancer, Lennar and liver failure face sharp shortages. Sterilization and Disinfection and medical equipments and clothes face decrease up to 30%. There is severe shortage in Solutions and pigments and laboratories tools. These shortages amounted of 40% directly affect patients. -Some Medical Machines are in bad need for spare parts and maintenance. Due to siege none of the needed is being achieved. Medical machines of Gas measurements of children incubators are being affected as well. The power cuts and continued blackouts damaged part of machines and its programming systems. Damage hit C.T and X.Ray Departments at al Shifa' and European hospitals. These are so crucial to diagnosis tumors of cancer and other diseases. Spare parts for medical T.V are not available!
It was a due on Israel to open commercial crossings completely during the calm. But, Israel didn't abide by that condition as she partially opened them. But within the last week; Israel totally closed them causing a huge humanitarian crisis. According to UNRWA, around 750,000 of its beneficiaries don't get their devoted share of food parcels. With the Israeli ban on UNRWA aid, it is ensuring that a dire humanitarian crisis will occur within days. As UNRWA is also under siege from assisting Palestine in humanitarian causes, long time projects such as housing are halted to the loss of $350 million.
Agricultural, Animal and Bird is one of most negatively affected by recent closure of collective punishment. Animals and birds are being sorted as terrorists as the same as Gazans in Israeli view. Gaza needs 150 tons of fodder a day, since 4 weeks none of it entered. More than a million of chickens executed due to lack of fodder. looses amounted of 20% due to lack of vaccinations, serums and lack of fodder. Fishing sector lacks natural gas needed for fishing and also the process of incubation is being halted. Agricultural tools like insecticides, seeds and fertilizer not available. This negatively affects the sector and already did with start of siege. Agricultural products are being held in Gaza as Israel prevents any kind of exportation since a year and a half.
The people of Gaza are outraged by the Israeli collective punishment. I spoke to some Gazan residents and I observed some differences amongst them. Mr. Muhammad who refuses to identity his full name said that this siege is unjust and it's a way to pressure on people to give up their rights.
"We have been patient for 60 years now. We passed more cruel time than this. Thus, why to give up this year. We have to be adamant and patient and the siege will be lifted eventually." Mr. Muhammad said.
I spoke to a jobless resident from Al Shati' refugee camp. Mr. Khalil Barakat, who is in his mid 50's, says he is outraged by this siege. "I'm fed up; bored I feel we are caged like animals in Gaza. If I could get a chance to immigrate to live my remaining years in peace, then I would love to." He said with anger.
Accidentally, I met old friend of mine, Um Muhammad Abu Ouf; a mother in her twenties. It was good for me to explore her views about the siege as well. As a Mother and a female, her perspective is most important. We met at 6 pm at AL Omar al Moktar Street which was plunging into deep darkness.
She had her outstanding comments about siege. I asked: How badly you are affected by siege?
"Well, the siege became a daily nightmare midday and night. Electricity cuts off and that frightens my 11-month infant. It makes conditions unsafe for him. Further, I'm trying to get some fortified food for him. I went to many stores and shops but in vain. I could not find any food nor needed supplies for my son as there is a shortage in a lot of the basic products needed to care for infants' such as milk, diapers and so forth".
One another pessimistic Gazan, Nahed Deeb, told me that a famine is looming up as no one is giving a helping hand for Palestinians." We are slowly dying and no one is taking actions. I lost my work 8 years ago and I'm dependant on irregular aids. This is applicable on tens and hundreds of thousands in the normal time. Nevertheless, no longer more poor like me are getting any kind of support.
Israeli defense Ministry announced today that Gaza crossings would remain closed until further notice. Gazans are to expect more mayhem as time advances. Palestinians aspire a ceasefire that leads for a complete lifting of Gaza siege imposed more than a year ago. Clearly, the aspirations of Palestinians would go with wend since there is no stability in the Israeli political arena. Every Israeli politician is promising and threatening Gaza of a brand-new way of torture.
Israelis prevented a Libyan boat loaded with 3 thousand tons of food stuff from arriving off the Gaza shore. The Israeli refusal came under a pretext that the boat carries weapons for Palestinians. Within two days a Qatari boat would set to sail from Cyprus to Gaza carrying more humanitarian aids. Additionally, Turkish, Kuwaiti, Yemani and Jordanian boats are planned to sail for Gaza soon.
Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb
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