Donors raise $560 million for Gaza water treatment plant

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says international donors have raised 456 million euros ($560 million) to build a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip to provide around 2 million people with safe drinking water.

At a pledging conference in Brussels on Tuesday, the EU offered more than 77 million euros, which combined with other donations will meet around 80 percent of the plant’s costs.

People in the impoverished coastal strip rely on an underground aquifer for their water. But quality is poor and Gazans are drawing off around four times what the aquifer can sustain each year.

The Palestinians say water shortages are creating health problems and exacerbating political tensions.

The EU says that funding the plant is part of its efforts to help build a Palestinian state.

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