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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

Accumulating waste poses catastrophic health risks in Gaza Strip, says UNRWA

Mountains of trash have accumulated across the Gaza Strip, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, warned this week, deepening the wartime perils for the vast number of displaced Palestinians sheltering in often squalid encampments or in the crowded homes of relatives

New York Times News Service New York Published 16.06.24, 07:51 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

Accumulating waste poses catastrophic health risks in Gaza, UNRWA says.

Mountains of trash have accumulated across the Gaza Strip, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, warned this week, deepening the wartime perils for the vast number of displaced Palestinians sheltering in often squalid encampments or in the crowded homes of relatives.

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UNRWA said on social media on Thursday that more than 330,000 tons of solid waste had accumulated in or near populated areas throughout Gaza, which it said posed “catastrophic environmental & health risks”. Many displaced people do not have access to clean water, working toilets or reliable medical care

Among the dangers the agency has highlighted is hepatitis A, a virus, often transmitted through person-to-person contact or contaminated food, that may cause liver disease.

More immediately, those infected can suffer debilitating fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice and other problems.

Malak Nassar, 21, who fled the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya months ago, was recently diagnosed with hepatitis A at a clinic in the central Gazan town of Deir al Balah. She had been unwell: pale and lethargic. Her mother, Fadia Nassar, 42, initially thought she might have the flu.

“I didn’t expect her to get hepatitis at all,” the elder Nassar said. “I knew it was spreading already, but I did not want to believe Malak had it.”

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