U.S. Water News Online
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Red Cross and a Gaza water utility have recycled rubble from a blown up border wall to build two sewage lagoons, an international official said.
The development appears to walk a fine line in the face of an existing Israeli and Egyptian ban on importing building materials to the Hamas-ruled territory.
The two lagoons were built with bricks recycled from damaged cement blocks from a Gaza-Egypt border wall blown up by Hamas militants last year, according to Antoine Grand, who heads Gaza's office of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Gaza's borders have been sealed since Hamas overran the territory two years ago, ousting forces loyal to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
After Israel's three-week military offensive in January, both Israel and Egypt have let in humanitarian supplies but maintained the ban on building materials. International organizations, including the ICRC, have urged Israel and Egypt to open the crossings with Gaza, so rebuilding can begin.
Israel argues Hamas militants could divert cement and pipes to build bunkers and rockets. Gaza militants have fired thousands of rockets made there toward Israel in recent years, terrorizing residents in border towns and communities.
The two lagoons near the border town of Rafah will prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and contaminating drinking water.
But the rubble has all been used up now and plans for two new towers to purify wastewater would require that new building material be brought in. Hamas has tried to be resourceful, planning to build a school, a clinic and a mosque with mud bricks.
“In the end, what you need is open crossing points and letting construction materials in,” said Grand.
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