March 27, 2007

Sewage Flood Engulfs Gaza Village

Revolting beyond description:

At least five Palestinians including two toddlers drowned in a “sewage tsunami” today, when a water treatment reservoir burst its embankment, flooding a village in the northern Gaza Strip.

The deluge, triggered by the collapse of a system aid organisations had long warned was dangerously overburdened, submerged dozens of homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Nasr beneath a cesspool of foul-smelling effluent.

Two women in their 70s, a teenage girl and two boys aged one and two died in the flood. At least 15 people were injured and local medics say scores more are still missing.

This AFP picture pulled from Yahoo! News photos gives you an idea of how massive the sewage spill was. The waters these men are paddling in are full of bacteria and human waste. I cannot even begin to imagine the stench or the near total destruction this breach has created in the village of Umm al-Nasr.

I know from reading hurricane-related coverage that the mold and bacteria that can result from other kinds of flooding mandate that some buildings be razed as a result. I would imagine that by western standards, any structure inundated with raw sewage would almost certainly have to be destroyed, but I fear that in Umm al-Nasr, many of the residents, primarily poor Bedouin shepherds, do not have the resources to rebuild, and will endeavor to reoccupy their bacteria-infested homes. If this occurs, I suspect the death toll will sadly increase from disease.

As is so often the case involving anything in Gaza, the story's political overtones were among the foul things that quickly rose to the surface.

The Hamas movement, the leading partner in a newly formed Palestinian unity government, blamed the disaster on a foreign aid boycott slapped on the Palestinian Authority a year ago when the Islamist hardliners first came to power. Israel and the West consider Hamas a terrorist outfit.

In a statement, Hamas said: “The overflowing of the [reservoir] is one of the results of the suspension of international aid to our people, which is preventing the government from improving and developing infrastructure.”

To the credit of the Times, they deftly debunked Hamas in the immediately following paragraph.

As far back as January 2004, UN aid agencies in the Gaza Strip had warned that the sewage treatment facility was operating far beyond its capacity and posed a grave danger to nearby residents.

Also sadly stereotypical was how residents responded to the interior minister who rushed to the scene to inspect the damage. What did the residents feel? Justifiable outrage.

And recoil.

Hopefully the people of Umm al-Nasr will receive aid to help them cleanse and rebuild their village. It's too bad Hamas and other Palestinian groups let the water treatment facilities deteriorate to such a deadly condition in the first place.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 27, 2007 12:34 PM

Receive aid to clean up the mess? When are these animals going to do something for themselves?
They have been living off the international teat for years. When are they going to do something for themselves other than trying to kill as many Jews as they can.
They can all rot in Hell as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: 1sttofight at March 27, 2007 02:18 PM

That's a pretty ignorant comment. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall the last time Bedouins tried to do much but eek out a meager living. I don't seem to be able to find many accounts of shepherd suicide bombers, or Jihadi sheep.

Just as all Muslims are not fanatical fundementalists, all Palestinians are not fanatical zealots thirsting for the blood of Jews, and I don't even know that the Bedouins consider themselves Palestinians.

Try a little human empathy.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 27, 2007 06:30 PM

Why don't you just stick it up your ...?

Posted by: 1sttofight at March 27, 2007 11:13 PM

Its clear Hamas is unfit to govern no matter how much money they have. Surely there is a bulldozer and some dirt somewhere in Gaza.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at March 28, 2007 04:48 AM

That picture of the truck covered in Hamas excriment reminds me of the Keystone Kops.

Posted by: Dan Irving at March 28, 2007 09:43 AM