Reconstructing Gaza could take an entire century, if Israel doesn’t stop the siege, leading charity Oxfam warned. And that’s just the time frame for essential projects. The NGO’s regional director calls the situation “deplorable.”
A statement was issued by the group on
Thursday, six months after the latest conflict, which saw Israel
roll out Operation Protective Edge. That brought about eight
weeks of bombardment, followed by a devastating ground assault.
— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) February
Oxfam’s statement outlines how “the situation in Gaza is
becoming increasingly desperate” and calling for the lifting
of the eight-year blockade, as well as a continuation of peace
“Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure that people
can rebuild their lives,” Regional Director Catherine
Essoyan said. With it in place, the flow of construction
materials in and agricultural produce out is having a crippling
effect on the lives of Palestinians.
According to the NGO, new figures reveal a drop last month in
construction materials, which are vital to the efforts. “Less
than 0.25 percent of the truckloads of essential construction
materials needed have entered Gaza in the past three
months,” the statement also said.
In pure figures, over 800,000 truckloads of such materials are
still required to repair the infrastructure damaged in last
summer’s operation alone – Israel’s bloodiest in years – which
claimed 2,200 Palestinian lives, most of them civilians.
About 100,000 of these people still live in shelters and other
makeshift or temporary accommodation because of this lack of
“Tens of thousands more are living in badly damaged
homes,” Oxfam ads.
“Families have been living in homes without roofs, walls or
windows for the past six months. Many have just six hours of
electricity a day and are without running water. Every day that
people are unable to build is putting more lives at risk. It is
utterly deplorable that the international community is once again
failing the people of Gaza when they need it most,” Essoyan
A further problem concerns food.
“Exports of agricultural produce from Gaza have fallen in the
last year to just 2.7 percent of the level before the blockade
was imposed. Fishermen are still restricted to an enforced
fishing limit of 6 nautical miles – far short of where most fish
are – farmers are restricted from accessing much of the most
The charity continues to provide water, food vouchers and health
services where it can.
In the meantime, no progress has been reached on a diplomatic,
long-term solution to the crisis, which was supposed to take
effect after the ceasefire.
As the separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
persists, people continue to be trapped. The same goes for the
border with Egypt, which has been shut for the past two months,
preventing thousands from leaving.
The organization also places blame with the Palestinian unity
government, which hasn’t been able to reach a consensus and is
therefore “exacerbating the situation.”