“Water is the life of everything. I tell you, we can live without electricity, but we can’t live without water,” said Sabah. She lives in one of the most densely populated places on Earth with three young children and an older son: She lives in Gaza.
Fifty-seven percent of residents in Gaza are food insecure, and more than 50% of the population is unemployed. Their difficult living situation is exacerbated by unpredictable violent conflict and lack of resources. Everyone knows that the people of Gaza are often blocked off from jobs and building materials to improve their living situation, but more than that, they lack access to even the bare necessities. Water is an especially difficult problem in Gaza.
“ALL DAY AND NIGHT WE WOULDN’T HAVE WATER.”
For Sabah and her family, getting water has always been hard, although they were vigilant about making sure they had enough for the small children. Sabah did the best she could to manage what little water was available to them.
“All day and night we wouldn’t have water,” she said. They’d spend a lot of time checking for it. At 1 a.m. her son would check if the water was turned on, then again at 3. As often as possible, he’d concern himself with whether the water was available for the family.
They’d get so desperate, they’d often have to ask for water from their neighbors in the next neighborhood.
And when the conflict came in the summer of 2014, a bad situation got even worse.
All water was cut, and many water sources within walking distance were permanently damaged or completely destroyed. People fled their homes and when they came back they found no water sources and no electricity—and many more lost their homes too.
According to United Nations Statistics, after conflict erupted in Gaza in 2014, water supply was disrupted to 2 out of 3 Palestinian residents there. And over a year later, more than 120,000 people were still waiting to be reconnected to water. Many more continue only to have a partial water supply. They had to rely on the big water tanks that were brought in to help. And many times they’d have to pay for the water they needed to survive, not just with valuable time, but also with money that they didn’t have.
They sometimes had to pay individuals who’d go to get water from other sources and sell it to locals. They did what they could take their share and make it last.
The impact of IRUSA donors has been so powerful for Sabah and her family because it means that water will flow from her very own tap, in her very own kitchen in her very own home. With the right tools and support, the problem of water can be resolved for Palestinians in Gaza.
More than 16,000 meters of water pipes have been laid in Gaza with IRUSA donor support, and now 600 households have direct water connections and 220 households have proper wastewater connections. Not only that, but donor support ensured 14 United Nations shelters had water readily available for drinking and washing when it was needed the most. With 18 water projects already completed to make the lives of Palestinians in Gaza a little bit easier, more than 30 are currently underway.
MORE THAN 600 HOUSEHOLDS IN GAZA HAVE BEEN RECONNECTED TO A RELIABLE WATER SOURCE THANKS TO IRUSA DONORS AND ANERA.
Sabah prays that more families like hers will have water available to them soon. It’ll be amazing relief for families in Gaza who can then concentrate their limited income and resources on things that’ll help improve their quality of life like job development, and education. Sabah can’t thank her donors from the United States enough for keeping Palestinians in Gaza their dua and in their good actions through difficult times.
“I WANT TO THANK ANERA AND ISLAMIC RELIEF USA FOR BRINGING WATER TO OUR HOMES, AND ALHAMDULLAH, MY GOD, IT WILL ALWAYS BE WITH THE PEOPLE.”
Her three young children can drink good, clean water when their thirsty now, and they won’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough or whether they might get sick from it. And they know that it was someone who lives far away that helped them—something they might never forget.