Middle East Desk
GAZA: The socioeconomic situation in the Gaza Strip has been severely weakened as a result of the Israeli offensive in May, a report by the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank has found.
The Gaza Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) report published estimated that the damage caused by the 11-day bombardment was between $290m and $380m, while the recovery needs are projected at between $345m and $485m.
“Following the hostilities, 62 percent of the population of Gaza is food insecure,” the report said, adding that unemployment was already at 48 percent and poverty rates above 50 percent before the escalation.
The offensive killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure and residential areas. On the Israeli side, 13 people were killed by rockets fired from Palestinian armed groups in the coastal enclave, including two children.
The Gaza Strip is one of the world’s most densely populated areas, where two million Palestinians, half of them below the age of 18, live in 365 square kilometres (141sq miles) of the coastal territory. It has been under blockade by Egypt and Israel for 14 years, which resulted in a dire humanitarian situation that a UN report had predicted would be “unlivable” in 2020.
At least 800,000 people do not have access to clean water, and electricity runs for only a few hours a day.
Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated an already weak healthcare system, with medical equipment and medicine in short supply.
The RDNA report found that most of the damage in Gaza from Israel’s bombardment in May was caused to social sectors such as housing, health, education, and social protection and jobs, at an estimate of $180m.