PCHR Welcomes Authorities’ Response as Removal Begins of Toxic Materials Caused by the Israeli Offensive
Date: 22 September 2021
Time: 12:12 GMT
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) appreciated the competent authorities’ immediate response to their campaign that highlighted the need to remove toxic materials caused by the Israeli occupation forces’ bombing of Khudair’s Company for chemical fertilizers and agricultural tools, and Medor warehouses for agricultural materials and tools, during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in May 2021.
On Wednesday, 22 September 2021, staffs from the Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Quality Authority, UNDP, Gaza and Beit Lahia municipalities started removing the chemical and toxic materials that resulted from the destruction of 6 big warehouses including chemical materials belonging to Khudair and Medor companies in Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip. As part of the continuous and daily follow-ups to remove the toxic materials, PCHR’s lawyers were present as the removal process commenced.
On 15 September 2021, PCHR warned of the serious repercussions on health that may result from the toxic emissions across Beit Lahia that resulted from bombing the Khudair warehouses for pesticides and fertilizers during the Israeli offensive. PCHR also warned that if the competent authorities ignored these poisonous materials, the residents’ lives in the area will be at risk, and these materials will infiltrate into the underground, and could poison the underground water, especially if it rains.
On 16 September 2021, PCHR sent urgent letters to 9 of the concerned authorities in the Gaza Strip demanding immediate action to remove the poisonous materials and emissions coming from Khudair Warehouses for Pesticides and Fertilizers in northern Gaza, or to evacuate the local residents to spare them dangerous health effects that may affect at least 3,000 persons.
PCHR contacted the Hamas Movement Chairman’s office manager in Gaza on the subject and informed them of the situation and its critical implications. PCHR also sent letters to the Gaza Attorney General; Deputy Minister of Health; Police Director General; the Civil Defense Chief; Deputy Minister of Local Governance; Mayors of Gaza and Beit Lahia; Deputy Minister of Agriculture; and the President of the Water Authority.
PCHR called upon the competent authorities in the Gaza Strip to intervene immediately to remove these materials or evacuate residents living in the area, not only to avoid the non-stop foul smell, but also to spare them the serious health effects that may impact them. Furthermore, PCHR called upon international experts and organizations to contribute to removing the debris caused by the bombing, particularly due to the lacking capacities at the Palestinian Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, as well as the Water Authority.