In January, UNICEF and partners completed the construction of a €10 million seawater desalination plant funded by the European Union. It will initially produce 6,000 cubic metres of safe drinking water a day, providing it to 75,000 people living in the southern Gaza Strip – about 35,000 people in Khan Younis and 40,000 people in Rafah.
June Kunugi, UNICEF State of Palestine Special Representative, still remembers the day she arrived at the site of construction of the plant in April 2013. “All I saw was just an empty stretch of land,” she says.
“Today the plant has been completed, and is a testimony to what can be achieved in Gaza. I deeply thank all who were involved in making this possible, especially the European Union for their generous support and for playing a lead role every step of the way. Nothing can be more fitting to celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNICEF than the opening of this plant which enable 75,000 people, half of them children, to realize their right to safe drinking water.”
The completion of the plant, which started a little over two years ago in partnership with the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and CMWU, is not an end but a beginning. The European Union has granted an additional funding of €10 million to double its capacity. The works of this second phase, which have just started, will enable the plant to produce a total of 12,000 m3 of safe drinkable water daily, serving around 150,000 Palestinians. (LINK)