JERUSALEM, FEB 26 — A new report warns that the severe sanitation situation in the Palestinian Gaza Strip could lead to diseases, epidemics and infections in Israel, as published on Tuesday by the Hebrew-language daily newspaper “Yedioth Ahronoth.”
The report was written following a comprehensive study conducted by the public health departments of Israel’s Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Universities, in cooperation with EcoPeace, an Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian environmental organization.
The report warns of a phenomenon called “environmental refugees” which already happened in other countries.
According to this scenario, in case of an epidemic outbreak in Gaza, for example, thousands of Palestinians will leave their homes, gather at the Israeli border fence, beg for medical help and even act violently.
The report states that “this is one of the most dramatic threats that could occur because of the continued deterioration of the sanitary and environmental health situation in Gaza.”
According to the report, the collapse can be caused by a failure in the sewage system or water supply, or if Gaza’s health system will collapse – all leading to outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The report warns that one of the dangers is the outbreak of West Nile fever viral infection, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that incubate in streams.
The report writers concluded that “such threats, beyond those known today, in the form of outbreaks of epidemics and infections, may cost many lives, that no border fence or air defense system can stop.” – XINHUA