United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA) hosted Eng. Ala’a Eldin Al-Batta Mayor of Khan Yunis, Gaza as part of UCLG-MEWA Local Government Talks entitled “The Role of Local Governments in the Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic and Normalization” on October 26, 2020.

Mayor Alaa El-Din Al-Batta started his remarks by talking about the impact of COVID-19 on the whole world, especially the Gaza Strip which he referred to as a large prison. Following that, he noted that the situation in Palestine, and especially in the Gaza Strip, is different from other countries due to the occupation and the related challenges it imposes on the Palestinians. These obstacles control the way to deal with this pandemic. He also added that the virus was firstly transmitted into the country through Rafah Border Crossing with pilgrims and travelers returning from abroad. He indicated that the number of infections was no more than a hundred cases in the first six months, but due to negligence, the number exceeded 5,500 cases during the last two months.

Mayor Al-Batta, who is also the head of the Central Emergency Committee, talked about the precautionary measures that have been taken by Khan Yunis Municipality. He said that more than 250,000 masks had been distributed to the citizens in Khan Yunis. He also added that the Gaza Strip had been divided into five governorates, and the movement between them had been prohibited except in cases of emergency. He moved on to talk about the measures taken at schools in the Strip following a safe reopening of schools. He also talked about the infrastructure work and the sewage water project in Khan Yunis, funded by the State of Kuwait and Japan, and implemented with the assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

At the end of the talk, Mayor Al-Batta sent a message to the people of Khan Yunis and asked them to adhere to the obligations to curb the spread of the pandemic. He also sent a message to local authorities and local leaders in the Middle East and West Asia.

You can watch the full talk here.

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