Stockholm, 30 August 2012 - Last May the European Commission reported that scores of infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip, financed mostly by the European Union, have been damaged or destroyed, wittingly or unwittingly, by Israeli military forces in the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
Nevertheless, undaunted by this destruction, the Palestinian Authority plans to launch an ambitious half-billion-dollar project for a new seawater desalination plant in water-starved Gaza next year.
When the international community warns of an impending global water crisis in the foreseeable future, it rarely singles out the current plight of the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.
With more than 90 percent of its water resources unfit for human consumption, the Gaza Strip has no access to safe drinking water. As a result, 1.6 million Palestinians are deprived of one of the most fundamental necessities for human survival, says Dr. Shaddad Attili, minister and head of the Palestinian Water Authority.
Speaking on the sidelines of a weeklong international water conference hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), he announced plans for the desalination project aimed at providing drinking water to Palestinians.
The project is the first to be unanimously approved by the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and has been described as Gaza’s largest infrastructure project to date. The construction, which will be spread over a three-year period, is expected to begin in early 2013 and completed by 2016.
The funding will come mostly from Arab and European donors, based primarily on pledges made during the 2009 Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on the Reconstruction of Gaza.
For the complete article, please see Inter Press Service.