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Israel cuts water supplies to West Bank during Ramadan

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are left without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month.

Israel's national water company has cut crucial water supplies to large areas of the occupied West Bank, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Mekorot, the main supplier of water to Palestinian towns and cities, siphoned off water supplies to the municipality of Jenin, several Nablus villages and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages.

Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, said on Tuesday that in some areas people had not received water for more than 40 days.

"People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity," he said.

"Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litres per capita per day," he said, adding that in some areas they had started rationing water.

The city of Jenin, which has a population of more than 40,000 people, said its water supplies had been cut by half, and warned that it would hold Mekorot solely responsible for any tragedies resulting from water shortages during the hot summer months.

Mekorot did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the UN, 7.5 litres per person per day is the minimum requirement for most people under most conditions but in some areas of Palestine - where temperatures exceed 35C - the minimum requirement is much higher.

Since 1967, Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since its forces occupied the territories.

Israelis, including settlers, consume five times more water than Palestinians in the West Bank, 350 litres per person per day in Israel compared with 60 litres per Palestinian per day in the West Bank.


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