Israel helps Palestinians curb sewage levels after floods kill 5
Israel sent two large floating pumps into Gaza to help the Palestinians lower the level of sewage.
Israel on Wednesday sent two large floating pumps into the Gaza Strip to help Palestinians lower sewage levels, a day after the collapse of a cesspool flooded a village with waste and killed five people, the Israel Defense Forces' Civil Administration said.
Civil Administration spokesman Peter Lerner also said that a man seriously wounded in the floods Tuesday had been hospitalized in Israel.
Dozens of bulldozers and trucks worked furiously Wednesday to shore up a network of sewage basins in northern Gaza. Palestinian and United Nations officials moved people displaced from the village of Umm Naser to tents on higher ground and scrambled to prevent the collapse of the other overloaded sewage pools.
Another collapse could send sewage flooding into the far larger town of Beit Lahia, causing a wider spread disaster, local officials said.
The collapse early Tuesday sent a wave of sewage into the village, killing two women in their 70s, two toddlers and a teenage girl, and injuring 35 others, hospital officials said. Abu Shamalha said nearly 100 homes had been destroyed.
The accident highlighted the desperate need to upgrade Gaza's inadequate and outdated infrastructure. Aid officials said construction of a larger sewage treatment plant in the area has been held up by constant Israeli-Palestinian fighting.
Though international sanctions against the Palestinian Authority have frozen some sewage projects, those measures did not appear to have affected the facility near Umm Naser. Gaza City's mayor, Majid Abu Ramadan, blamed the collapse on local people digging dirt from an earthen embankment around the structure and selling it to building contractors for NIS 300 a truckload.