Cases of miscarriages and skin rashes of citizens as a result of emissions from chemical fertilizer stores that were destroyed in the aggression on Gaza

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights warned, today, Wednesday, of the health risks resulting from the widespread emission of pungent odors and toxic materials in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, from the effects of the Israeli bombing, which led to the destruction and burning of Khudair warehouses for pesticides and agricultural fertilizers. There during the last aggression on the sector last May.

The center pointed out, in a statement, to the serious effects that may result from neglecting to remove the effects of aggression in that region, especially in light of information about the emergence of serious health symptoms on the residents of the region, such as skin rashes, miscarriage and difficulty breathing, on the one hand, and the danger of the leakage of these toxic substances to Underground and groundwater pollution, in the event of rain falling on these materials.

On May 15, 2021, without warning, the Israeli occupation forces bombed the warehouses of the Khudair Company for Agricultural Supplies, owned by Mahmoud Idris Khudair, and the warehouses of the Midor Company for agricultural materials and tools, owned by his brother Suhail.

The two companies contain 6 large warehouses built on a total of 4.5 dunams. The two companies are located in the Sifa area, near Beit Lahia beach, in the north of the Gaza Strip. The unjustified bombing of the warehouses led to their destruction and burning of their contents of agricultural materials, and a fire inside them for 12 days, without causing any damage. Civil defense teams can put them out.

Smoke has been emitted from the warehouses for about four months, producing pungent odors and toxic gases that humans cannot tolerate, and they are haunting the neighborhood’s population of about 3000 people. As stated by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Health and environmental experts, contacted by the Center, expressed their fear that toxic substances resulting from burning and their chemical interaction might leak into the ground in the winter, as a result of rains and polluting groundwater in the area.

The center pointed out that the occupation forces targeted the warehouses without justification or military necessity, as they are located in an area about 3 km from the northern border of the Gaza Strip, and they did not witness violence during the days of the aggression, pointing out that the location of the warehouses is well known to the occupation forces. As it is known, it contains agricultural materials and chemical fertilizers, and its bombing may have disastrous effects on the population in the area.

He pointed out that the warehouses have been owned by Khudair and Midor, two leading companies in this field in the Gaza Strip, for decades, covering about 55% of the needs of the agricultural materials market in the Strip. Officially agricultural crops from Israel, China, Turkey, Russia, Spain, India, Italy, Jordan and others through the port of Ashdod, and it is officially entered through Kerem Shalom.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights called on the competent authorities in the Gaza Strip to immediately remove these materials or evacuate the residents around them to avoid not only the unpleasant smell that is constantly emitted, but also to avoid the serious health damage that civilians living nearby may be exposed to as a result.

The Center appealed to international experts and international institutions to contribute to eliminating the effects and consequences of the fire, in light of the weak capabilities available at the Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and the Water Authority.

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