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Gaza: Scores of respiratory illness cases amid gas shortages

Gaza: Hundreds of respiratory illness cases reported amid cooking gas shortages
2 min read
20 April, 2024
Gazans are resorting to using firewood and charcoal due to a severe lack of cooking gas, triggering a large number of recorded respiratory illness cases.
Poisonous and toxic fumes released from charcoal and firewood have caused hundreds of respiratory cases in Gaza [Getty/file photo]

Hundreds of cases of respiratory illnesses have been reported in the Gaza Strip, the territory’s civil defence said on Friday, attributing the rise to Gazans resorting to cooking over firewood due to cooking gas shortages.

In a statement, the civil defence said that families across the war-hit territory, particularly Gaza City and other northern parts, have resorted to cooking with plastic utensils over firewood and charcoal over the past six months, emitting "poisonous gas", as reported by the Anadolu Agency.

The Gaza Strip has long-suffered from cooking gas and fuel shortages as a result of Israel’s ongoing blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007.

Shortages have been further exacerbated by Tel Aviv’s brutal military onslaught on the Gaza Strip, as well as its total siege, depriving residents of basic essentials such as food, water and fuel.

Aid has trickled into the territory in insufficient quantities, with severe shortages persisting, particularly in the north of the territory.

The statement read: "The Israeli occupation’s continued prevention of the entry of cooking gas into the Gaza Strip, especially to Gaza City and the northern Strip, portends a new humanitarian and health crisis in light of the ongoing aggression against our people."

"For many months, citizens have been relying on alternative means of lighting fires from wood and charcoal, which has caused many to suffer from respiratory illnesses due to the use of plastic and chemical materials to ignite the fires, which emit toxic gases."

The statement warned "of the worsening cooking gas crisis and its danger to the lives of residents who have been suffering catastrophic conditions since the start of the Israeli aggression last October."

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The civil defence went on to urge the international community to "pressure the occupation to allow the entry of cooking gas."

Concerns have also been raised about respiratory illnesses caused by the accumulation of waste and the failure to dispose of it safely, due also to fuel and power shortages.

The UN has also sounded the alarm on the increase in respiratory tract infections, and other illnesses in Gaza.

Israel has launched a brutal military onslaught in Gaza, killing at least 34,049 Palestinians since 7 October, most of whom are women and children.

Much of the territory has been rendered unhabitable, as residential buildings and other infrastructure has been flattened. Israel's atrocities have been described as akin to war crimes, while South Africa has accused Tel Aviv of carrying out a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza Strip.