A two-day donor conference in Brussels approved a 456 million euros ($560 million) desalination plant to supply drinking water to besieged Gaza Strip people, in hopes of alleviating a severe humanitarian crisis.
The plant will provide drinking water to some 2 million Palestinians.
At a pledging conference in Brussels on Tuesday, the EU offered more than 77 million euros, which combined with other donations, will meet over 80 percent of the plant’s costs.
The European International Bank (EIB) has signed a letter of intent confirming its support for the Gaza Desalination Program. This includes a technical assistance grant for the Palestinian Water Authority, backed by the European Commission.
The EIB will launch the tendering procedure for the provision of technical assistance on April 15.
“This project will meet the most urgent water needs in Gaza, providing drinking water and at the same time contributing to economic growth, environmental sustainability and stability. I'm proud that the EU pledged €70 million for the desalination plant plus 7.1 million euros for management costs,” EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said.
“Today’s successful pledging conference takes us a step closer to making a reality of this project and to improve living conditions in Gaza, and remove obstacles to economic development there,” he added.
“This conference carries a message of hope to our people in Gaza, stressing that the international community is not neglecting their suffering, but diligently working to design interventions to address the dire water situation in Gaza. The project will contribute to the political stability of the region as water scarcity can have grim repercussions and spark further tensions,” Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said.