American Near East Refugee Aid

Cremisan, Beit Jala – Today, ANERA signed a contract to install sewage collection pipelines for Beit Jala’s Cremisan area. The project is being implemented by ANERA under the Emergency Water and Sanitation and Other Infrastructure (EWAS II) Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contract was signed by Jamal Al Aref, ANERA’s EWAS II Chief of Party, and Mr. Tayseer Abu Shukhedem, owner of Al Petra Company for Excavations, in the presence of Mr. Gaby Abboud, USAID Projects Manager. Also in attendance were the Mayor of Beit Jala Eng. Raji Zeidan and ANERA’s Southern West Bank EWAS II Area Manager Eng. Mohammad Abu Rajab.

The Cremisan area is the only part of Beit Jala that is not connected to the main sewage network. Wastewater is collected in deteriorated septic tanks which leak, causing major problems such as the contamination of drinking water, the spread of water-borne illnesses, and environmental pollution. While Beit Jala Municipality was able to obtain the required permits to implement this vital project, a lack of financial resources put the project on hold indefinitely. Fortunately, USAID stepped in to fill that gap.

With USAID funding amounting to around $475,000, ANERA will install over 2.5 miles (4,250 linear meters) of main and secondary PVC sewage pipelines that will serve the Cremisan Area, connecting it to Beit Jala’s main sewage network. The implementation of this project will have a huge positive impact on the lives of approximately 6,000 residents of the area. Instead of collecting in septic tanks, wastewater will flow through the newly installed pipes to the main sewage network where it will be dealt with appropriately. This will reduce the possibility of water contamination and also reduce potential harm to the general health and wellbeing of the residents. In addition, the residents no longer have to pay hefty expenses for emptying their old and leaking septic tanks by means of vacuum tankers.

Mayor Raji Zeidan expressed his gratitude, saying, “We salute and thank USAID for providing the funds for this project. And all my respect and thanks to ANERA whom we have a long working relationship with in implementing projects vital to the community.”

In return, Eng. Jamal Al-Aref said that, “We do not forget the efforts of the Mayor and the Municipality team and the residents of Beit Jala, all of whom have continuously contributed to the success of projects completed and ongoing which were implemented by ANERA and funded by USAID. ANERA is a partner with USAID and the local community, and together, we are working towards a common goal of development for the local community.”

USAID has so far provided more than $3.3 billion in U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since 1994. USAID coordinates closely with the PA to support projects designed to reduce poverty, improve health and education, implement infrastructure and water projects, create jobs, and promote democracy and good governance.
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