Qatar completes first half of new homes for Gazans

Qatar provides over 1,000 homes to Gazans as part of a rebuilding project in areas of Gaza Strip that were destroyed in Israeli attacks in 2014

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Posters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Qatar's former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani are seen on a building in the opening ceremony of Hamad City, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, January 16, 2016

Updated Jan 17, 2016

Over 1,000 Palestinian families have been given new apartments in Gaza's Khan Younis, as part of the Qatari funded housing project.

The project aims to contribute in rebuilding the Gaza Strip, where some 100,000 people remain displaced, 18-months after Israeli attacks in 2014, with the economy stifled by blockades enforced by Israel and Egypt.

The units are part of the Hamad City Project, a 3,000-apartment complex, which was initially announced before the 2014 Gaza War, when former Qatari envoy, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, visited Gaza in 2012.

Yet it is the largest housing project in the coastal enclave where some 1.8 million residents live.

After the 2014 war, around 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in Gaza, and Qatar pledged $1 billion for building projects in the blockaded city.

Around $50 million from the fund was paid to owners of destroyed houses to fund the rebuilding of homes.

Mohammed al Amadi, the Qatari envoy overseeing the project, said 1,000 new homes had been completed since.

"Qatar exerts every effort to help the people of Gaza in the fields of electricity, agriculture, infrastructure and housing, including the rebuilding of completely destroyed houses," Amadi told Reuters.

Qatar arranges the delivery of the needed materials for its projects with the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities to overcome restrictions on building materials into Gaza.

Amadi said that Gaza needs around 130,000 houses.

"Only 400,000 tonnes of cement have entered Gaza since October 2014, or the equivalent of Gaza's need of cement in two months only," Gaza economist, Maher al Tabbaa, who is also in charge of public relations at Gaza's Chamber of Commerce, said.

Gazan families received their certificates on Saturday, but they will move in two months later, after minor infrastructure work such as paving the roads to the city and establishing the water network is over.

Samia al Nakhala, 39, is one of those who received a certificate. She lives with her husband and son in a home that costs $250 a month in rent. Now she will pay the cost of the house in monthly instalments of $170.

"Instead of throwing my money in the air every month, now I will be paying for my own home," she said.

TRTWorld and agencies