It rains in Gaza…how war becomes a double-edged sword?

suffer Gaza Strip Heavy rainfall occurred last year in December 2022, and at the time there were rumors that a severe lack of health infrastructure due to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip increased the health risks of these rainfalls.

The risk of rainfall remains and has become more severe with early precipitation that began a few days ago. But this time the rains, which come as the war waged by the Israeli occupying forces in the Gaza Strip intensifies, brings a positive side to it, in the form of clearing the air of pollution from bombs and missiles used by the occupying forces. things. .

While residents of the Gaza Strip suffered as rain flooded the tents where they took refuge and health services were disrupted due to a lack of fuel, discussions about the dangers of accumulated rainwater escalated, but that didn’t stop some of them from snapping up the Be positive and express it spontaneously on social media sites.

Study: Rainwater has clear efficacy in removing pollutants (Anatolia)

Condensed rain… supports Gaza’s narrative

Studies on the role of rain in cleaning the air support the views expressed spontaneously by Gazans, since according to these studies, raindrops can attract tens to hundreds of small aerosol particles, such as soot (carbon particles produced by the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons), sulfates and organic molecules enter the air surface before reaching the ground, a process called “condensation.”

Researchers at MIT revealed the details of this process through previous experiments conducted in the institute’s Assembly Efficiency Room, the results of which were released in August 2015. in a magazine “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.” In this 3-foot-tall glass chamber, droplets are produced at a controlled rate and size. As the droplets fell through the chamber, the researchers pumped out the aerosol particles and measured their condensation rate (i.e., the fusion of droplets and aerosols).

From their measurements, they calculated rain’s condensation efficiency, which is the ability of raindrops to attract particles as they fall. In general, they found, the smaller the raindrops, the more likely they were to attract particles. They also found that the less cohesive raindrops are, the more likely they are to attract particles. Relative humidity conditions promote the condensation process.

A joint Spanish and French study it published addressed this patrol The February 2021 issue of Water Research examines the physical and chemical properties of raindrops that help purify the air. The study identified differences between summer and winter rainfall, but ultimately concluded that rainwater has a clear effect in removing pollutants.

Rain helps extinguish bomb ash, lowering its temperature and limiting its ability to ignite (Reuters)

Natural cleaner for explosives

“These findings support the positive role that rainfall can play in the Gaza Strip, as it Acts as a natural cleaner, removing dust, smoke and other particles from the atmosphere “that accumulate as a result of the bombs and explosives dropped on the Las Vegas Strip.”

Alam said explosions, fires and combustion caused by the use of heavy machinery or vehicles during conflicts can cause fine particulate matter (PM) such as soot, ash and dust to be released into the air. Munitions also release gases such as sulfur dioxide and oxides, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. These gases can lead to the formation of smoke, which is harmful to health. Buildings, vehicles and infrastructure can also be burned. Produces smoke and soot, causing air pollution.

Some weapons and ammunition release heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, while the use of chemical weapons in conflicts can release highly toxic substances such as chlorine or mustard gas into the atmosphere.

In addition to the above, Alam noted that rainfall has another positive effect, namely extinguishing bomb ash or its remnants, as rainfall moistens the ash, thereby lowering its temperature and limiting its ability to re-ignite.

It is recommended not to use rainwater for drinking, especially during the first hours of rainfall, as rainwater contains air pollutants. (Anatolia)

Dangers of drinking alcohol within an hour

On the other hand, as Alam emphasizes, the positive role of rainwater in neutralizing the dangers of certain harmful substances means that it must be treated with extreme sensitivity when trying to benefit from it.

he agreed suggestion The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stipulates that rainwater collected for drinking must be regularly filtered, disinfected and tested. If this cannot be done efficiently, it is recommended to only use the collected rainwater for other purposes such as gardening, laundry or bathing.

“In the event of war, even the uses permitted in these proposals will become impermissible, especially during the first hour of rainfall, as the rainwater described as beneficial in capturing airborne pollutants will fill these areas,” Alam said. Contaminants pose health risks if we handle them.” “With it, the water is considered drinking water.”

A fertile environment for the spread of cholera

The greatest danger of water in times of war is that it can lead to the spread of disease cholera When health services are disrupted, it finds fertile ground.

Mixing of wastewater with freshwater sources creates an environment conducive to rapid reproduction and spread of cholera (France)

More than one study has revealed this risk, including: study Last February, the infectious disease journal Acta Tropicala published a Swiss study that suggested rainfall was a contributing factor in the spread of cholera through two pathways: increased exposure to contaminated water (due to worsening health conditions during periods of increased water supply), Or newly secreted bacterial contamination of the water. The cause of the disease is Vibrio cholerae.

“Heavy rains disrupted sewage systems, causing wastewater to mix with sewage,” Mohamed Hadidi, a professor of biomedicine and director of Xavier Tech City’s Genome Research Center, said in a statement by phone to Al Jazeera. “The spread of Vibrio cholerae can occur once the water source is contaminated by the bacteria contamination, people may unknowingly consume this contaminated water for drinking, cooking, or bathing.

i warned The World Health Organization described an early “environmental and health disaster” when Gaza’s sewage pumps failed due to a power outage, running out of fuel needed to operate.

“As heavy rainfall occurs, the problem becomes more severe when sewage pumps are stopped, as this puts pressure on the stopped sewage treatment plants,” Hadidi explained.

Before the rains, there were reports that sewage overflows had begun to occur in an area of ​​eastern Gaza due to a malfunctioning sewage treatment plant. The problem is expected to become more serious after the heavy rains, making the Gaza Strip a fertile environment for development. The spread of epidemics such as cholera.

Interactive map of Gaza Strip’s most prominent target hospitals and on-site developments

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