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ICRC sounds alarm over water in Gaza

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ICRC sounds alarm over water in Gaza
Palestinians fill containers at a water purification station in southern Gaza on October 27, 2009. Human rights group Amnesty International says in a report issued today that Palestinians are denied 'the right to access adequate water' by Israel, and the average Israeli daily water consumption in Israel reaches 300 liters, while Palestinians get an average of 70 liters. UPI/Ismael Mohamad | License Photo

GAZA, March 22 (UPI) -- Water and sanitation problems in Gaza are compounded by the fact that building materials are restricted, the ICRC warned.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said that every day, hundreds of gallons of wastewater are dumped into local waterways that trickle through urban areas in Gaza.

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Failing wastewater treatment networks in the region increase the risk of waterborne parasites that threaten the health of the local community.

The ICRC said Israeli restrictions on the import of construction materials were eased last year, though spare parts and raw materials are at a premium.

"It's a great challenge to carry out construction projects in the Gaza Strip, as building materials cannot be imported," said Marco Albertini, an ICRC engineer working in the area, in a statement.

The Red Cross called on governments and other interested parties to make sure those living in conflict zones like Gaza have access to clean water and basic sanitation.

"The water and sanitation infrastructure in Gaza is in dire need of a comprehensive upgrade," added Albertini.

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