During the early hours of 28 June 2006, the Israeli Occupation Force launched a ground offensive in Southern Gaza. As part of the assault, the Israeli Air Force attacked three bridges and the Gaza City power station, cutting power to much of the area.
One of the bridges is that of the Wadi Gaza where some environmental non-governmental organization members of PENGON have implemented a solar energy powered lighting project in the area as a means to promote environmental friendly technology and to reduce pollution from fuel based power generation. Part of the project has been destroyed from the strike as well.
The transformer station is also used to help pump water from the water network to apartments in Gaza. As the power has been severed, the water cannot be pumped and Gazans are unable to access water. As a result, some 860,000 residents in Gaza are currently without electricity and running water.
The public health and safety and environmental hazards stemming from the damage caused to infrastructure as a result of this military operation include:
Jan Egeland, the United Nations Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs has warned that Gazans are three days away from a deadly humanitarian crisis unless Israel promptly restores fuel and electricity required to pump water: “They are heading for the abyss unless they get electricity and fuel restored … there are hundreds of thousands of children who are now without water and electricity … without clean water in the hot summer weather we would see in days a major humanitarian crisis.” Israel’s military action has impacted innocent civilians, and thus violates international humanitarian law. PENGON calls on the international community to pressure Israel to stop the assault immediately.