Inside UAE-built desalination plants that pump 1.2 million gallons of clean water into Gaza daily

The plant is right next to the Mediterranean Sea, minutes away from the Rafah border, and around 10 minutes away from Gaza

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​
KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​

Published: Wed 3 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 3 Jan 2024, 7:57 PM

The war in Gaza rages on with no end in sight, with Israel’s military saying it’s likely to continue throughout 2024. Even as the world stepped into the new year, Israeli aircraft and tanks upped strikes in the besieged enclave, with the death toll passing 22,000 on Tuesday.

Survivors of the war have to deal with lack of fuel and unhygienic conditions throughout the besieged Gaza strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) estimates that more than 70 per cent of the water in Gaza is contaminated and undrinkable.

This is where UAE-run desalination plants are proving to be a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Khaleej Times visited the plants in the Egyptian city of Rafah, where the capacity was doubled to 1,200,000 gallons per day.

KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​
KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

The plant expansion will benefit over 600,000 Palestinians living in Gaza. The humanitarian operation — that’s part of the Emirati 'Gallant Knight 3' mission — is pumping much needed clean, drinkable water to the strip.

KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​
KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​

The plant is right next to the Mediterranean Sea, minutes away from the Rafah border, and around 10 minutes away from Gaza. The water is taken from the sea to the plant, filtered through a rigorous process, and then through 900-metre underground pipes. Once the water reaches Gaza, it is distributed by the Palestinian Water Authority.

KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​
KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​

Yousef, a worker at the plant, told Khaleej Times: “I have been working here for the past two weeks, and we have seen significant progress and outcome. We didn’t face any challenges until now, and we expect things to stay that way. Our work here will hopefully benefit more than half a million people across the border.”

KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​
KT Photo: Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi​

For parched residents in Gaza, the clean water tastes like "like sugar" after weeks of Israel's siege left them drinking unclean, brackish water.

"We were really suffering... we used to bring water from the sea before. This water tastes like sugar, it is drinkable," news agency Reuters quoted Gaza resident Zaki Abu Sleyma as saying in a recent report after the three plants built by the UAE started pumping water into the strip.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell had earlier expressed concerns about Gazans not having access to water that’s safe to drink. “Access to sufficient amounts of clean water is a matter of life and death…children in Gaza have barely a drop to drink. Children and their families are having to use water from unsafe sources that are highly salinated or polluted. Without safe water, many more children will die from deprivation and disease in the coming days.”

The Emirati humanitarian mission hopes to address this, among other critical shortages on the strip.

ALSO READ:


More news from UAE