November 15, 2018
Gaza Water Crisis on WORT

Thursday, Nov 15
12 noon – 1 pm

A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff will feature guests Zeiad Abbas Shamrouch, Executive Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, and Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, President of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, discussing the water crisis in Gaza in advance of Madison’s November 20 fundraiser for Clean Water for the Children of Gaza.

Tune in at 89.9 FM or Listen Live online, and call in at 256-2001. There will also be a discussion of this week’s escalation of violence in Gaza. If you can’t listen live, you can find the show later in the WORT Archives.

Gaza’s drinking water spurs blue baby syndrome, serious illnesses

Contaminated and scarce water owing to Israel’s brutal siege and bombing of infrastructure leads to death and disease.


A Palestinian woman bathes her son with water from a tank filled by a charity inside their dwelling in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 3, 2017 [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Sandy Tolan, Al Jazeera, 29 Oct 2018

This article is the first of a two-part series on Gaza’s water crisis. The second, which examines solutions to Gaza’s water and health catastrophe, was published on Tuesday, October 30.

Gaza – The unshaven doctor with circles under his eyes enters the children’s ward at Al Nassar hospital in Gaza City. It’s a Thursday evening, almost the weekend. The ward is bleak and eerily quiet, but for the occasional wail of an infant.

At each cubicle, sectioned off by curtains, it’s a similar image: A baby lies alone in a bed, hooked up to tubes, wires and a generator; a mother sits in silent witness at the bedside.

Dr Mohamad Abu Samia, the hospital’s director of paediatric medicine, exchanges a few quiet words with one mother, then gently lifts the infant’s gown, revealing a scar from heart surgery nearly half the length of her body.

At the next cubicle, he attends to a child suffering from severe malnutrition. She lies still, her tiny body connected to a respirator. Because electricity runs only four hours a day in Gaza, the baby must stay here, where generators keep her alive.

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How can Gaza’s contaminated water catastrophe be solved?

Barely three percent of Gaza’s drinking water wells is fit for human consumption, and the crisis is claiming lives.


Mousa Hilleh, 48, rebuilt his home after the 2014 Gaza war and says not having access to clean water is a major concern [Abdel Kareem Hana/Al Jazeera]

Sandy Tolan, Al Jazeera, 30 Oct 2018

This article is the second of a two-part series on Gaza’s water crisis. The first, which examines Gaza’s water and health catastrophe, was published on Monday, October 29.

Gaza – When it comes to survival in Gaza, safe, clean drinking water is not at the top of Mousa Hillah’s list of priorities.

Since the 2014 war, Hillah, known to neighbours and family as Abu Ali, has had far bigger worries, which are etched deeply into the exhausted face of the 48-year-old grandfather.

Dodging shell fire from Israeli tanks, he fled with his family from the destruction of his Shuja’iyya neighbourhood, flattened by Israel in an attack so devastating – 7,000 shells in barely an hour – that it astonished even US military officials. (“Holy bejeezus!” one retired general exclaimed.)

The family took refuge for months in an in-law’s house near the sea, along with 50 other people. When they returned, Abu Ali found his home – the one he had built after 30 years of working construction in Israel – utterly destroyed.

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November 20, 2018
Fundraiser: Clean Water for the Children of Gaza

First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Drive
Madison
7:00 pm

Help provide a Maia Project water filter from the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to serve clean drinking water to 3,250 students of two schools and their families in Rafah. This is a joint project of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison, and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.

The evening will include a project presentation, music by Beat Road Blues, inspirational words from Rep. Mark Pocan . . . plus light refreshments.

Free and open to the public. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Can’t make the benefit but would still like to donate? You can donate online or send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to:

    MRSCP
    P.O. Box 5214
    Madison, WI 53705

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October 14, 2018
Fundraiser for the Maia Project

Hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison and Congregation Shaarei Shamayim


Sunday, October 14
First Unitarian Society,
Main Sanctuary
900 University Bay Drive, Madison
4 – 6 pm

Come hear about this important effort to provide clean drinking water to children in Gaza. Light snacks and beverages will be provided. Free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted to help provide a Maia Project water filter to two schools in Rafah.

Can’t make it? You can donate online or send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to:

    MRSCP
    P.O. Box 5214
    Madison WI 53705

October 8, 2016
Indigenous People’s Day & Film: The Eagle & the Condor

 

Monday, October 8:
First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Drive
Madison

Schedule
5:30 pm – Community Potluck
6:30 pm – Drumming and welcoming by Indigenous Leaders
7:00 pm – Showing of The Eagle and The Condor – From Standing Rock with Love
8:00 pm – Panel/Community Discussion about the importance of supporting “Water Protectors”

Free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Coalition to Save the Menominee River.

Background from Madison Alder Rebecca Kemble:

“In October 2016, I traveled to Standing Rock to deliver the City of Madison resolution, ‘Expressing Solidarity with Indigenous resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline,’ to the Standing Rock nation through its Chairman, David Archambault. The morning after my arrival was Indigenous Peoples’ Day and I attended a ceremony based on the Eagle and Condor prophecy that was held on a piece of land that had been excavated in preparation for installation of the pipeline. While serving as a Legal Observer, I was arrested along with 26 other people and charged with engaging in a riot, criminal trespass, destruction of evidence, and resisting arrest.

“Over the course of that fall and winter, more than 800 people would be arrested and charged with crimes for non-violently defending the Missouri River from the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Extreme levels of violence were used by Morton County and the State of North Dakota on behalf of DAPL owners to eventually demolish the action camps in February 2017 and disperse the historically unprecedented gathering of Indigenous people from all across the planet.

“The Eagle and The Condor is a beautiful film made by Mohawk filmmaker, Kahsto’sera’a Paulette Moore, that focuses on the events of that day as a way to explore the juxtaposition of the extreme violence and history of violence with the beauty of ceremonies and the people who still remember and practice them. Helping produce the film has been an integral part of my own healing from the events that I experienced and witnessed. I hope it will bring viewers a deeper understanding of and respect for the challenges Indigenous peoples face to maintain and practice their cultures under the pressures of centuries of colonization and extreme resource extraction on their homelands.”

MRSCP is a co-sponsor of this event. The Eagle and The Condor will premiere on Indigenous People’s Day on Free Speech TV and in communities across North America and Europe.

July 21, 2018
Maia Water Project at the Midwest Waterfest

10 am – 6 pm
Common Ground
2644 Branch Street, Middleton

MRSCP will be tabling for the Maia Project at the Midwest Waterfest, A Celebration of Life – music, speakers, food, activism, information, fun!

Stop by to check out the Waterfest events and stop by our table, we’ll be selling olive oil & olive oil soap, earrings, kuffiyehs, and small embroidery items, and raising money to install a Maia Project water filter serving 3,250 students and their families in Gaza at two adjacent schools in Rafah.

Restoring U.S. Aid Crucial to Avoid Gaza Water Catastrophe

This article is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of World Water Day on March 22.

Drinking water in Gaza is causing a rising number of its residents to fall ill and the UN says scarcity and pollution of water resources are at the forefront of the territory’s scourges.

Matthias Schmale, IPS – Inter Press Service, March 27, 2018

GAZA CITY, Mar 21 2018 (IPS) – World Water Day (March 22) could not come at a more critical time for the people of Gaza who are facing a humanitarian catastrophe The recent decision by the United States to reduce funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), jeopardizes its role as a critical source of clean drinking water when Gaza’s supplies slow to a drip.

An estimated 1.2 million Gaza residents have no access to running water. For those who do, up to 97 percent of the water they receive is too polluted with salt and sewage to drink. The salt comes from seawater, which penetrates Gaza’s only aquifer when the water table drops too low. Palestinians in Gaza consume on average fewer liters per person per day than the World Health Organization recommends, and less than a quarter of the average per capita consumption in Israel.

Nevertheless, the combination of rapid population growth and regional climate change extracts 200 million cubic feet of freshwater each year from an aquifer that receives only 60 million cubic feet of diminishing rainfall annually.

As the water level steadily drops, more seawater seeps in, increasing the aquifer’s salinity. Only around 22 percent of wells in Gaza produce water with acceptable salt concentrations. The rest are anywhere from two to eight times saltier than global standards, with some wells exceeding the official standard for “brackish.” The high salinity puts Gazans in jeopardy of kidney stones and urinary tract problems.

But high salinity is not the worst of Gaza’s water problems. Years of conflict have damaged or destroyed much of its critical water and sanitation facilities—including wells, pumps, desalinization plants and sewage treatment plants.

The crippled infrastructure that survives can only be used the few hours a day Gaza receives electrical service. A newly completed World Bank wastewater treatment plant in Beit Lahia, for example, sits idle much of the time because Gaza doesn’t have enough electricity to run it.

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Gaza Unlocked Issues: Electricity

Gaza Unlocked Issues: Electricity — American Friends Service Committee

Gaza’s power system is at risk of collapse. In 2006, the Israeli military bombed Gaza’s only power plant, destroying its six transformers. Under the blockade, the power plant can’t import parts to replace damaged components. Temporary fixes have allowed the plant to function at a minimal level, but those solutions were never made to last.

Other factors have exacerbated the power crisis, including a halt in smuggled fuel from Egypt in 2013, the destruction of fuel storage tanks and other structures at the plant by Israeli airstrikes in 2014, and the destruction of infrastructure and distribution networks throughout Gaza. Since April 2017, the Gaza power plant has been offline due to limited fuel imports, further limiting electricity in Gaza.

While Gaza’s electrical grid is linked with the Israeli system, Israel limits how much power it sells to Gaza, and existing power lines can only supply a fraction of Gaza’s total needs.

Today, less than one-third of Gaza’s electricity demand is being met. Rolling blackouts leave Palestinians in Gaza with less than four hours of electricity per day—affecting the health and well-being of residents; jeopardizing critical services, such as hospitals, schools, and water sanitation; and making it impossible for businesses to function.

Ending the blockade is crucial to address the power crisis, but it will not improve the situation immediately. Even if new parts could be imported and additional infrastructure could be built, it would take up to five years for the system to reach a point where current needs could be met.

People in Gaza have no more than 4 hours of electricity per day.

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