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23 February 2009

Gaza Emergency WASH Cluster weekly situation report
Number 5
                                            23rd February

Summary overview
150,000 persons still remain without access to water from the main distribution network
No major repairs to increase number of households with access to water can be made without getting additional materials into Gaza
A specialized needs assessment for waste management and rubble removal is currently being finalized with DWR
Data from the water quality surveillance programme (MoH/WHO) indicates that microbial water quality in the main network remains within established limits

General situation
According to figures from CMWU/PWA on the 19th of January 50,000 persons were completely without access to water and an additional 100,000 were virtually without water, receiving water only every 5 or 6 days. Areas without water include Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, Az Zaitoun, Jabalia and eastern Khan Younis. CMWU/PWA estimates that without getting additional repair materials into Gaza these people will remain without water, since major repairs can not take place due to lack of materials. WHO reports there are no water and sanitation disease outbreaks, and that the microbial water quality remains within established limits.

WASH cluster humanitarian response

Drinking and domestic water
PHG, Oxfam and ACF continue with water distribution. Oxfam has distributed 3,400 m3 of drinking water during between February 10th and 19th, with approximately 6 litres/person/day to around 60,000 beneficiaries. ACF have been able to increase their distribution due to an increased number of water tankers and they distributed 2,199 m3 of domestic water between February 13th and 18th, with a total number of 20,077 of beneficiaries receiving approximately 22 litres/person/day.

Islamic relief is distributing water to schools with approximately 8,000 beneficiaries. Save the Children is continuing installation of plastic water tanks in Shokat as Sufi and Beit Lahyia. They also continue with installations of 120 household water pumps in Beit Lahyia, which will benefit 840 persons, as well as rehabilitating water house connections in Beit Hanoun for 100 houses, or 700 beneficiaries. In Beit Hanoun they are rehabilitating water lines for 4,000 beneficiaries.

Two teams from ACF continue working on cleaning Beit Lahyia Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as cleaning the damaged areas of Gaza City’s wastewater treatment plant and assisting the CMWU technical staff in maintaining the water and wastewater networks.

Solid waste
COOPI continue with solid waste management in Gaza City. The solid waste collection is done by the local population using Cash-for-Work, and this benefits 150 people. ACF is working on cleaning up debris on the streets in Beit Lahiya and Gaza City. CARE International is also in the process of setting up a waste management and rubble removal programme.

The WASH Cluster is currently discussing with a specialised waste management NGO, Disaster Waste Recovery (DWR), to undertake a needs assessment in Gaza and to propose an action plan for WASH partners. COOPI have expressed an interest in hosting DWR for the period of the assessment, details are being finalised.

Hygiene and NFIs
ACF is distributing family hygiene kits and water kits in partnership with UNICEF and Union of Agricultural Working Committees. 800 hygiene kits and 400 water kits have been distributed since 27th of January. Relief International distributed 850 hygiene kits to approximately 6,000 beneficiaries in Gaza City, Khan Younis and Northern Gaza. Oxfam distributed 655 hygiene kits between February 11th and 19th to 4585 beneficiaries. Save the Children continue with health awareness campaigns in Beit Hanoun, Shokat as Sufi and Beit Lahyia with approximately 4,000 beneficiaries.

WASH cluster activities
The WASH cluster has recruited WASH Cluster focal point, Graham Henderson, for Gaza. The Gaza WASH focal point will be based with Oxfam GB and is currently on an induction in Jerusalem. Graham will be arriving in Gaza as soon as the relevant authorisations are in place. The recruitment for a local information manager is ongoing and will be finalized during the coming week. Recruitment has also started for a WASH Cluster Coordinator to replace Tim Forster, who will return to the RRT2 pool.

Due to the major problems around the access of materials into Gaza, the WASH Cluster is setting up an advocacy group in order to address this issue. WASH partners are currently being consulted on the best way to set up an advocacy initiative, and this work will be undertaken in coordination with the E-WASH advocacy group, which is currently advocating on issues related to the drought in the West Bank.

Both CMWU and PWA (including 40 Palestinian children) will be attending the World Water Forum in Istanbul from 16th – 22nd March, and will use the occasion to discuss the situation in Gaza

WASH Cluster meetings for Ramallah/Jerusalem will now take place on a bi-weekly basis. The next meeting is planned for 5nd March at 11h00 in PWA Ramallah. The Gaza WASH Cluster meetings will continue on a weekly basis.

A training on a new input tool for the agency activities, supplied by OCHA, was held in Gaza last Wednesday. A training in Jerusalem is planned for next week.

Two new sections have been added to the WASH cluster web page (, in order to publish situation reports and other documents from partners. All agencies are encouraged to send any documents they want posted on the website to WASH cluster information manager Nina Odling (

The main constraint is related to the access of materials into Gaza. No major repairs can take place and many projects are delayed. Most urgent priorities currently are pipes, cement and fittings. CMWU and key WASH partners have recently updated the priority WASH materials list for Gaza. The WASH cluster is working together with the Logistics cluster, OCHA and other key partners to advocate to the Israeli Authorities for these materials to be allowed in, and from their side, CMWU and PWA are currently discussing the access issue with the Israeli authorities.

Highlights for next week
Arrival of the new Gaza WASH Cluster focal point, Graham Henderson, in Gaza in the coming week(s)
Recruitment of local information manager for Gaza
Continued training for WASH partners in Gaza and Jerusalem on 3W and data entry using the web based OCHA interface
Finalising the agreement with DWR for a waste management/rubble clearance needs assessment mission to Gaza.


1WASH Cluster Rapid Response Team (RRT)

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact:

Tim Forster
WASH Cluster Coordinator 054 47787682

Subha Ghannam
e-WASH Coordinator 059 9644868

Graham Henderson
Gaza WASH Cluster focal point
054 5865985

Nina Odling
WASH Information Manager 054 7787683

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