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July 24, 2024

Widespread Destruction in Gaza Leaves Future Bleak

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Feb 2, 2024

The recent war between Israel and Hamas has left Gaza facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and economic catastrophe that could take decades to recover from.

Over 50% of All Buildings Damaged or Destroyed

According to the UN trade and development agency (UNCTAD), the 11-day war in May 2021 resulted in extensive damage across all economic sectors in Gaza, with over 50% of all buildings either damaged or completely destroyed.

A comprehensive satellite imagery analysis by UNOSAT found that out of Gaza’s total building stock of 60,000 structures, over 17,000 suffered moderate to extensive damage while 8,000 were completely destroyed. This includes homes, hospitals, schools, factories, shops and infrastructure.

The scale of destruction is visible from satellite photos showing entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble across Gaza, especially along the border areas which faced heavy bombardment.

Vast Majority of Population Impacted

With over 2 million people living in the densely populated Gaza strip, the majority of the population has been impacted by the war. Over 75,000 Palestinians were forced to seek shelter after their homes were destroyed.

The UN warns that living conditions in Gaza have become increasingly uninhabitable due to the overcrowded housing and lack of essential infrastructure and services. There is an urgent need for reconstruction and economic recovery.

Gaza Facing Humanitarian Crisis

The war has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation for Gazans who have lived under an Israeli blockade for over 15 years. There are chronic shortages of food, clean water, medicine and fuel.

According to UNICEF, over 800,000 people in Gaza currently lack regular access to safe water while 500,000 people lack proper sewage treatment. Hospitals are struggling to cope with treating the 13,000 injured during the war due to shortages in medical equipment and electricity.

Reconstruction Needs Could Cost $15 Billion

Early estimates indicate that reconstruction needs in Gaza could run upwards of $15 billion over the next 5 years. This is significantly more than what Gaza has received in aid over the past decade.

At a donor conference last year, international donors pledged $5.4 billion in reconstruction assistance but much of the aid has been slow to materialize.

Given the large funding gap, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) warns that it could take “tens of billions of dollars and several decades” to fully rehabilitate Gaza’s economy back to pre-war levels.

Sector Damage Estimate (USD) Share of Total Damage
Housing $4 billion 36%

|Education|$40 million|0.4%
|Health|$50 million|0.5%|
|Industry/Commerce|$200 million|2%|
|Infrastructure|$1.5 billion|14%|
|Total|$11 billion|100%|

*Estimates from UNCTAD assessment

Economic Recovery Could Take Over 70 Years

Beyond the physical reconstruction, Gaza faces a monumental challenge to rebuild and revive its economy that has been devastated by years of blockade and repeated wars.

UNCTAD projects that at the current pace of economic decline, it could take over 70 years for per capita income in Gaza to return to pre-war levels in 2021. For perspective, this is almost triple the 25 years it took Europe to recover after World War II.

The agency warned that if further conflicts erupt or if the Israeli blockade persists, then “economic recovery could last until the end of this century.”

Israel Establishing Gaza “Buffer Zone”

While Gaza struggles to recover, Israel appears to be solidifying control over areas along the Gaza border.

Satellite images reveal that Israel has razed over 5,000 dunums (500 hectares) of Palestinian farmland to establish a buffer zone extending hundreds of meters into Gaza territory. This is in addition to an existing buffer zone up to 300 meters wide that has been in place since 2014.

The purpose of the buffer zone is to prevent tunnel digging and rocket launches though critics argue its real aim is to relocate Gaza residents and take over territory. While Israel says the buffer zone is temporary, the history of settlement expansion suggests it could become permanent.

International Response Muted

World leaders have expressed concern over the situation in Gaza but there has been little action beyond pledges of financial assistance. Proposals for an international protection force or monitors to supervise Gaza reconstruction have not materialized.

Rights groups accuse the international community of turning a blind eye to violations of international law regarding disproportionate military force and collective punishment of civilians.

With Gaza caught between Israeli occupation policies and internal division between Palestinian factions, resolving the conflict appears as remote as ever. The future remains bleak for 2 million Gazans struggling to survive in what has become an increasingly uninhabitable land.

In summary, the article highlights the catastrophic damage to infrastructure across Gaza that has left over 50% of all buildings damaged or destroyed based on a UN damage assessment. It describes the dire humanitarian situation facing Gaza’s population and the vast reconstruction costs that could take over 70 years to recover from economically. It also points to Israel establishing a buffer zone in Gaza territory while reconstruction lags. Finally, it notes the muted international response beyond financial assistance. The outlook remains bleak for Gaza without a political resolution.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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