Al Mezan Center for Human Rights organized a Face-the-Pubic meeting on 15 April 2007 on the sewage system problems in Al Jorah area, located in the south of Jabalia.
The meeting aimed to put at scrutiny the reasons and impacts of frequent sewage water overflows in the area; particularly following the sewage flooding that hit Um An Nasser village on 27 March 2007.
The meeting took place in Ebad Al Rahman School which neighbors Al Joura.
Representatives of the government were ibvited to meet the population and speak at the meeting; including Mr.
Issa Daher, Mayor of Jabalia, Eng.
Mounther Shoblak, Director of Costal Water Facility, Eng.
Hamdi Mteer, Director of North Area in the north Gaza municipal Common Services Council (CSC).
In addition, Al Jorah residents and journalists were attended the meeting.
Mahmoud Abu Rahma, Al Mezan's Training, Communications & International Coordinator, opened the meeting and emphasized on the urgency of the issue, which is directly linked with many human rights, notably the human rights to life, water, health and adequate housing.
He encouraged the government to provide urgent solutions in order to prevent any future sewage outflows into houses and to provide for those who lost their residence and have been at risk because of the problem.
Issa Dhaher, Mayor of Jabalia, highlighted that the area is not adequate for housing because of its low level and geographic location.
He said the area was allocated by the Municipality' for projects of public interest, including a market and storm rain infiltration basins.
However, these projects were not implemented owing to the protests of residents and their taking of part of the land.
He added that the removal of obstacles facing the project is imperative for the problem to be resolved.
Moudher Shublak said that his Facility has attached much the issue into consideration and he promised that the CSC will further study the problem and will provide sustainable solutions soon.
He connected the solution of Al Jorah's problem with the sewage system in north Gaza and said the cooperation between governmental bodies and inhabitants would be of great importance in this regard.
He promised that a specialized committee would be formed to follow up the consequences of Um An-Nasser problem on Al Joura; especially after six cases of blood infection were discovered in Al Joura.
Hamdi Mteer referred to the incident of Um An-Nasser as a small disaster when compared with an expected break of bigger sewage basins in the same area, which could flood into several parts of Beit Lahia town.
He said that Al Jorah area should expect minor floods every winter due to its geographical nature.
Last, he demanded to speed up the construction of the above mentioned project, which necessitates that the inhabitants reach an agreement with the authorities.
Many attendants posed questions and comments during the meeting.
One participant said much was done after Al Mezan announced the meeting and criticized the authorities for their late response to the flood.
Residents also remarked that only 10 houses are located in a place that hinders the project and the authorities could easily handle re-housing them.
They added that the water overflow is a continued problem and did not occur as a result of the leakage in Un An-Nasser; though it was worsened by it.
Al Mezan said that the PNA is under an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the citizens under all circumstances.
It must take all the necessary steps to put short-term and long-term solutions for the problem and make sure that their basic rights are not hindered.
It also asserted that the meeting was a first step towards working on the problem and that much follow-up on it with the inhabitants and authorities will be done until it is resolved.