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Gaza Given Grant by World Bank to Improve Water, Sewage Services

The Gaza Strip, where a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas left about 175 people dead this month, will receive a grant from the World Bank to help improve the region’s water and sewage conditions.

The $6.4 million World Bank grant in one of the most crowded areas where there’s a “critical deterioration of the Gaza water system” will be augmented by $11.1 million in financing from the Islamic Development Bank, the Washington, D.C.-based organization said in a statement.

“We are concerned about the lack of clean water supply and the deterioration in the quality of water resources in the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas on Earth,” World Bank West Bank and Gaza director Mariam Sherman said. The population of Gaza is 1.6 million.

Gaza’s groundwater is over-utilized, badly contaminated and ‘‘the over-drafting of the sole aquifer is causing a decline of the groundwater table and a deterioration of water quality,’’ the World Bank said. ‘‘Most sewage is returned to lagoons, wadis and the sea. The area is now choked with untreated sewage, threatening Palestinian health and life as well as remaining water resources and the environment.’’

The funds will help construct water tanks to collect and blend water from different sources to improve the quality and efficiency of Gaza water and wastewater and to connect major well fields supplying Gaza’s middle and southern areas, it said. Water distribution networks will also be upgraded.

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