U.N.: Raw Sewage Poses Danger in Gaza

Relief groups are calling on Israel to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip so that spare parts and materials can be brought in to repair the territory's sewage and water networks.

Because there are no treatment plants, as many as 21 million gallons a day of raw or partially treated waste sewage are pumped from Gaza into the Mediterranean. And U.N. officials say some of the waste is floating toward Israel. They also say an aquifer shared by Gaza and Israel is running low, and its water is increasingly unfit for consumption.

UN agencies and aid groups are warning that both Gaza and Israel face environmental and health hazards.

Israeli officials aren't commenting.

Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza largely sealed since a violent takeover of the territory by the Islamic militant group Hamas in 2007.

Israel has allowed in some food and basic goods, but continues to ban nearly all construction material, which it says Hamas could divert for military use.