A.T. a 25-year-old man from North Gaza district spoke to Al Mezan about his family’s struggle with electricity and water shortages:
“I live with 10 family members, five of them are children, in a three-storey building near Baitona association in Al Twam area, west of Jabaliya in North Gaza district. Since, Tuesday, 18 August 2020, the availability of electricity has declined from eight hours per day to only four hours. Since then, our suffering has exacerbated, mainly because of the hot summer weather. Following the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s announcement on Monday, 24 August 2020, of the first cases of COVID-19 infections outside the quarantine designated locations, the security services have imposed a full lockdown on the Gaza Strip. My children are neither able to play outside nor able to pass the time comfortably at home.
Our life now is like living in a grave, get out due to the lockdown and can’t stay in due heat. Additionally, the electricity crisis has created severe water shortages; the municipal water is only available for one to three hours per day, which mostly coincide with power outages therefore it’s impossible to pump up to the roof where water tanks are placed. We cannot bathe, wash the dishes, do the laundry or clean the house due to the lack of water. The current COVID-19 restrictions are putting heavier burden on our shoulders as it requires additional hygiene measures that are too difficult to maintain without water. The foul odor from bathrooms and the poor hygiene capacities in such a weather are unbearable. On top of all this, we have to stay at our homes to avoid contracting the virus. We sometimes resort to using drinking water in cleaning but it’s very costly. I fear this situation lasting for long as we have already postponed household cleaning chores and the dirty laundry is piling up.”