Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rafah tunnel news

Recent heavy rains have collapsed more than a dozen tunnels under Rafah, although no injuries are reported. The tunnel operators are now buying up all the lumber and cement they can find to shore up the remaining tunnels. As a result, the prices for those materials have skyrocketed.

Gazans in Rafah are fearful of more collapses and the resultant sinkholes that could swallow up cars and houses (not to mention cemeteries.)

The smuggling has been almost too successful. There is now a glut of smuggled Egyptian fuel, and the prices for oil and gasoline have gone down. Egyptian smuggled fuel prices are now lower than that of fuel imported from Israel. Gasoline prices are now the lowest in ten years.

Of course, NGOs are going to continue to tell the world sob stories about how Palestinian Arabs in Gaza have no fuel. The weekly PCHR report, which gets picked up by other information outlets like ReliefWeb, will have statements like this from last week:
Health services continue to be severely affected by the siege, with healthcare facilities also registering a 25% drop in clients due to continuing chronic fuel shortages.

Water facilities, including access to clean drinking water, and the treatment of raw sewage continue to be severely disrupted by fuel shortages. 50-60 million liters of untreated and partially treated sewage are being dumped into the Gaza Strip Mediterranean Sea daily, posing a public health risk.
It is not a fuel shortage - it is that Hamas is not prioritizing the delivery of fuel to critical infrastructure. Hamas couldn't care less about clean water because if Gazans get sick, Hamas just blames Israel and the world's NGOs happily follow suit.

Egypt claims to have destroyed three tunnels over the weekend.