Published on Monday, July 10, 2006 by the Boston Globe
My Life in Gaza
by Mona El-Farra
The irony is almost beyond belief. Since the capture of an Israeli soldier on June 25, the Gaza Strip has been subjected to a large-scale military operation, what Israel calls Summer Rain. Because Israel bombed the power plant, and the area needs electricity to pump water, most of Gaza now has almost no access to drinking water. In the heat of summer, rain would be a blessing far more welcome than the ongoing bombings.
I am already starting to lose track of days and nights, of how many bombs have dropped. Since the main power plant was destroyed, we have had to live with no electricity. What we do get is patchy, and barely enough to recharge our mobile phones and our laptops so that we do not lose all touch with each other and with the outside world.
As a physician, I fear for our patients. Twenty-two hospitals have no electricity. They have to rely on generators, but the generators need fuel. We have enough fuel to last a few days at most, because the borders are sealed so no fuel can get in. The shortage of power threatens the lives of patients on life-support machines and children in intensive care, as well as renal dialysis patients and others. Hundreds of operations have been postponed. The pharmacies were already nearly empty because of Israeli border closures and the cutoff of international aid. What little supplies were left have gone bad in the absence of refrigeration.
Food too is spoiling without refrigeration, and food supplies are low. West Bank farmers threw away truckloads of spoiled fruit after sitting for days and then being denied Israeli permission to enter Gaza. Children grow hungry as we watch the food that could nourish them thrown into the garbage instead. More than 30,000 children suffer from malnutrition, and this number will increase as diarrhea spreads because of the limited supply of clean water and food contamination.