Gaza coastal line turns deadly

A 5-year-old, boy Mohammed died after he had a swim at the Sheikh Ejlin beach. Mohammed’s father, Ahmed al-Sayis, a Palestinian from Gaza’s al-Zaytoon neighbourhood, took his four daughters and five-year-old son for swimming in July. When the family got back home, Mohammed became sick and vomited several times. He got fever and was rushed to the hospital. Soon enough, Mohammed fell into a coma. Later he died on July 29, 2017.

The cause of his death was diagnosed as Ekiri Syndrome, a lethal toxic encephalopathy of an infectious cause. Doctors informed the family that Mohammed most likely caught the bug during his swim in the polluted seawater.

Gaza’s coastal area stinks due to human waste and the deep blue color of the Mediterranean is turning brown in several spots. At the time of dwindling power supply Gaza municipalities shut down the five sewage treatment facilities in Gaza Strip in April and instead dump millions of litres of raw sewage into the Mediterranean.

Hospitals are receiving dozens of cases of infections that resulted from swimming in the polluted waters. Cases like diarrhoea, skin infections, respiratory infections and eye and ear infections have been reported.

Quoting a survey conducted in August by the Health Ministry and the Gaza Environment Authority, Al-Jazeera stated that 63 percent of the 40km-long Gaza coastal line was found heavily polluted with sewage, significantly higher compared with a previous survey in May 2017 when 50 percent of the coastline was polluted. Reportedly over 110,000 cubic meters of sewage are dumped daily in the sea.

In similar instance children of Ali Yousef were hospitalised for a week following a bout of gastroenteritis, which they developed shortly after swimming in the sea north of Gaza city.

United Nations had warned in 2002 that if nothing were done to ease the Israeli blockade, the Gaza Strip may not be a livable place in 2020.