Gaza / Nour Abu Eisha / Anatolia</p>Yahya Al-Sarraj, President of the Union of Municipalities of the Gaza Strip, in an interview with Anadolu Agency:<br/>The depths of the excavations resulting from the Israeli aggression against the infrastructure range from 5-10 meters.<br/>Temporary maintenance was carried out for some damages.<br/>The aggression destroyed sewage networks and rainwater collection lines.<br/>Delayed infrastructure construction increases fears of flooding and inundation of some areas.<br/>Rain may cause major streets to subside, causing landslides, affecting the foundations of surrounding buildings.<br/> <p>Yahya Al-Sarraj, head of the Federation of Gaza Strip Municipalities, warned of landslides in the winter, due to the delay in the reconstruction of the infrastructure that Israel targeted during its last aggression last May.
Al-Sarraj, who is also the mayor of Gaza City, said in an interview with Anadolu Agency that the Israeli targeting of infrastructure left pits 5-10 meters deep, which have not yet been maintained.
In addition, according to Al-Sarraj, the Israeli army destroyed sewage, water, and rainwater collection lines, which increases the risk of flooding and drowning of the targeted areas.
** Huge damage
Al-Sarraj said that the infrastructure in Gaza was directly and systematically targeted, during the recent Israeli aggression.
He continued, “This targeting greatly affected the services provided by the municipalities, leaving deep pits in the ground, sometimes reaching 10 meters.”
According to Al-Sarraj, the aggression also caused damage and damage to most of the “lines in the infrastructure, whether water networks, sewage networks, rainwater drainage lines, electricity and communications.”
He explained that the municipalities made a great effort to “repair what can be repaired from those damages, but with simple and limited capabilities, and with simple support from the Gaza government (run by Hamas).”
He expressed his fears that “a major and comprehensive repair, especially for rainwater drainage lines, will not be carried out.”
He continued, “The current reform is temporary and not comprehensive, and we do not know exactly what happened underground, and what the depth of the damage is. What we have repaired is the obvious, close and direct damage.”
He added that the municipality’s crews are “sometimes surprised that there is damage to the infrastructure, the source of which is unknown.”
Commenting on this, Al-Sarraj said that “in the event of rain, there is a great fear of flooding, which will cause the main roads to descend, due to underground damage.”
He pointed out that there are a number of areas in Gaza City, which are exposed to limited floods every year and drowned due to the accumulation of rainwater.
But this year, according to Al-Sarraj, it is not possible to predict the areas that may be subject to flooding, given the “deterioration of the infrastructure situation due to the lack of reconstruction of what was destroyed by the recent aggression.”
For 11 days, a military confrontation erupted between the Israeli occupation army and the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, which ended with a ceasefire on May 21.
That confrontation resulted in the killing and wounding of hundreds of Palestinians, and the destruction of civilian and economic facilities and infrastructure.
Al-Sarraj expressed his fear of “the occurrence of large floods in some of the targeted areas, in the winter, which are difficult to control.”
He revealed his fears that “the negative effects will reach the foundations and bases of the buildings located in the targeted areas, especially the vital, central and large commercial areas in Gaza City.”
And he warned of a great danger to “shops, homes, and citizens’ properties, in the vicinity of the targeted areas, in the winter.”
He pointed out that the municipality’s crews issued “warnings to citizens residing in those areas, to take precautions in this direction.”
According to Al-Sarraj, the municipality also launched calls for “international and local parties to give infrastructure reconstruction a quick and urgent priority.”
The number of areas targeted by the Israeli aggression in Gaza is about 80 points, while the most dangerous areas during the winter are concentrated in the city center, including “Al-Rimal neighborhood, the Unknown Soldier area, areas east of the city, and near UNRWA schools.”
** A shortage of capabilities
Al-Sarraj attributed the reason that municipality crews were unable to detect the damage deep in the ground, to the lack of advanced and advanced tools.
He said, “The targets were deep, and caused great vibrations in the soil in large areas. We dealt with the phenomenon, but we do not have the material and technical capabilities to detect the presence of underground leaks.”
The blockade, which lasted for more than 15 years, according to Al-Sarraj, also affected the performance of municipalities due to the prevention of the entry of necessary materials and mechanisms.
And he added, “It affected the provision of modern capabilities and technologies, or the money needed to fulfill its services, and it also caused a deficit in the citizen’s income, which affected the nature of his payment for the services provided.”
In addition, the mechanisms that the municipalities rely on in their work are “rickety”, over 25 years old, pointing out that in many cases the cost of maintaining these mechanisms is more than the price of purchasing them.
The municipalities of the Gaza Strip are suffering from a financial crisis, as a result of the continuation of the Israeli blockade, which prevented the introduction of advanced mechanisms and tools into the Strip.
Al-Sarraj said that according to urgent estimates made by the municipality in consultation with the local authorities in the Gaza Strip, the total cost of rebuilding the infrastructure in the governorates of the Strip amounts to 50 million dollars.
He added that the cost of rebuilding the infrastructure in Gaza City alone exceeds $20 million.
He explained that some donors made promises to the municipality to provide funds for the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure, but they have not fulfilled their pledges until today, due to an external political decision.
And he continued: “For example, there was a promise from the Islamic Development Bank to provide a grant of 2.5 million dollars, immediately after the end of the aggression, to rebuild the infrastructure, but it was not fulfilled.”
He explained that the American Development Agency, for a period of two months, worked continuously to assess the damages, in cooperation with the municipality and the Water Authority.
He stated that a political decision issued by the US Congress (the date of which was not mentioned) “to stop the financing of infrastructure reconstruction in Gaza and the West Bank, and to prevent the implementation of those pledges,” which caused “a state of great frustration in Gaza due to the halt in efforts to repair infrastructure.” According to him.
He called on donors to put infrastructure reconstruction on the “priority list in the reconstruction file.”
He said that the reconstruction of housing and residential towers has a positive impact on the population, but there is a state of concern over the delay in the reconstruction of infrastructure.
And he added, “If the housing is built, it may be negatively affected in the event of infrastructure problems in the winter.”
The delay in infrastructure reconstruction also causes negative effects on the environment due to “air pollution with dust from the targeted pits, which have not been reconstructed,” according to Al-Sarraj.
He pointed out that there are a number of potholes near “inhabited schools and hospitals, which constitutes a threat to them.”
There is also the possibility that “drinking water and domestic use will be mixed with sewage, in the event of any floods in the winter season.”
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