Gaza may be 'uninhabitable' by 2020: UN report

Ahram Online , Wednesday 2 Sep 2015

Palestinians bake bread on a clay oven in Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip August 25, 2015 (Reuters)

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) declared that Gaza might become “uninhabitable” by 2020 due to continuous “de-development”.

The report, published by UNCTAD on Tuesday, said that “Gaza’s population would increase from 1.6 million in 2011 to 2.1 million in 2020,” and concluded that for strip to be livable in 2020, “herculean efforts needed to be accelerated in sectors such as health, education, energy, water, and sanitation.”

The poor living conditions in the Gaza Strip, which has suffered under a nine-year-old Israeli siege, are the result of several factors, such as a low employment rate leading to poverty, a lack of humanitarian aid and building supplies, and a shortage of water and electricity.

These crises were exacerbated by the destruction of more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools, 15 hospitals, and tourist sites during Israel’s 2014 offensive on the strip.

The Israeli offensive on Gazans and the Hamas rulers of the strip in July-August 2014 left around 2,220 Palestinians dead. Seventy-three people were killed on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

The assault on Gaza also displaced more than 100,000 Palestinians with about 57,000 living in communal shelters. 

The assault ended with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The assessment of damages—according to the estimates of the Palestinian Authority—amounted to $4 billion. 

Countries attending the summit promised to provide $5 billion worth of financial support to Gaza during the Cairo donors conference in October 2014.

However, only 27 percent of the finances promised were delivered as of April 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last May.

The occupied Palestinian West Bank is also facing existential threats, as settlers continue to build homes illegally within the Palestinian territory.

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