One of the greatest challenges Palestinians face in the occupied Palestinian territories is climate change, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
It added in a press statement that several climate-change trends are expected to intensify throughout the West Bank in the coming years. These include uneven rainfall distribution, a decrease in natural grazing areas and vegetation cover, droughts, and extreme weather conditions.
The residents of the Jordan Valley suffer from a lack of water, affecting crops and livestock, their only sources of livelihood, not to mention that they themselves cannot survive without drinkable water. Furthermore, they face restrictions on water access, imposed by the settlement expansion in the area.
“Since I was born, I have been working in agriculture and raising livestock. The situation is getting worse every year, considering the water crisis in the area,” Abu Fawzi said.
The residents of the northern Jordan Valley face difficulty in accessing and transporting water, whether because of the bumpy roads on the one hand, or the restrictions imposed by settlement expansion on water sources in the area on the other hand.
“The Jordan Valley suffers from desertification, lack of rainwater, and the drying up of water springs. There were 11 springs in the past and most of them have dried up, whether due to climate change or settlement expansion in the area,” Mahdi Daraghmeh said.
Ein Al-Hilweh is witnessing an unprecedented lack of water considering the intensifying environmental changes in the region. The situation exacerbates for the residents considering the settlement expansion and the imposed restrictions on access to natural water sources, on which the inhabitants of Wadi Al-Maleh depend in their daily lives.
The impact of the water shortage in the northern Jordan Valley is not limited to the residents of the region only but extends to reach the livestock and vegetation cover, which are the only sources of livelihood for the Bedouin communities in the northern Jordan Valley.
“The crops succeed every few years because of the great shortage of rainwater compared to previous years, and the lack of water resources,” according to Fawzi Daraghmeh, a resident of Khirbet Samra in the northern Jordan Valley.
The ICRC is striving to develop special programs to support these communities and help them adapt to climate change by seeking sustainable alternatives. This ensures that people affected by climate change and conflict as well as environmental degradations receive the support they need to adapt to crises.