Gaza could soon become uninhabitable – UN

Multiple wars and eight-year of economic blockade could make Gaza uninhabitable in less than five years, according to U.N report. Many local residents agree with the assessment.

GAZA CITY, GAZA (SEPTEMBER 05, 2015) (REUTERS) – Gaza could become “uninhabitable” in just five years time if its current problems persist – these are the findings of a new United Nations report published last week.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on assistance to the Palestinian people predicted that if current economic situation continues, the impoverished strip could become uninhabitable by 2020.

Many Gaza residents when asked about the findings of the report agreed with the assessment.

“It makes sense (the UN report), because if you think about the situation today here it’s not suitable: the water, the electricity, the population density is not normal. From now to five years you expect that the population density will increase, and the shortage of water and many things. It’s abnormal. If you want to calculate it, today we have water only once in 4 days and it’s not even clean, it’s polluted and dirty. It’s not fit for human use or even to give to the cows. So in 5 years who knows what will happen to us,” said al-Shati refugee camp resident Mohamed al-Masri.

Unemployment and poverty remains a problem, saID Mohamed al-Asi, another resident of al-Shati refugee camp.

“Regarding the number of residents in the Gaza strip, from the South to North it’s 40 kilometres, it’s not enough for 2 millions and we are now almost 2 millions. It’s not fit to live in. I’m telling you if they allow people to get out of here most people will leave on their own without (the help) of the UN because people are defeated and besieged. Some people are selling stuff from their houses to feed their children. The situation is very difficult,” said al-Asi.

According to the World Bank, Gaza now has the world’s worst-performing economy, with the world’s highest unemployment at 43 percent, 68 percent among those aged 20-24. Since 1994, real per capita income has fallen by nearly a third. Manufacturing — once the hoped-for backbone of an economic revival — has shriveled by 60 percent.

The past 10 years were an unmitigated catastrophe in Gaza.

In that time, its 1.8 million residents have endured a civil war between Palestinian factions and four wars with Israel that killed more than 4,000 Gazans and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

In addition, 500,000 people have been displaced in Gaza during last year’s war between Israel and Hamas, according to the U.N.

More than 12,000 homes destroyed and 100,000 damaged, with none so far rebuilt. Tens of thousands left homeless. Two-thirds of the 1.8 million people recipients of U.N. aid in one form or another.