UN report says Gaza may be ‘uninhabitable’ in five years

UN warns Gaza may be rendered uninhabitable by 2020 if current destruction rate and economic slump continue

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Palestinian schoolgirls, pictured through a hole in the roof of a classroom that witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer

UN report says Gaza could be rendered "uninhabitable" in less than five years if current economic slump and constant destruction rate continue.

UN Conference on Trade and Development released the report on Tuesday.

Eight years of economic blockade on Gaza cost it dearly in its GDP and probably economic prosperity, chances of which are currently very bleak in addition to three wars between Israeli army and the Palestinians spanning the course of over six years.

Gaza's GDP dropped 15 percent last year, and unemployment reached a record high of 44 percent. Seventy-two percent of households have food insecurity.

Last year's war on Gaza caused a streak of horrid casualties to the coastal enclave bordering Egypt. The War displaced half a million people and left considerably big parts of Gaza completely destroyed in 2014.

More than 20,000 houses were destroyed, along with 148 schools, 15 hospitals and 45 medical centres in addition to 247 factories and 300 malls, left totally or partially damaged, as well as damaged power plants which causes major power shortage crises in the Palestinian lands.

The war "has effectively eliminated what was left of the middle class, sending almost all of the population into destitution and dependence on international humanitarian aid," the new report says.

“The wars have shattered Gaza's ability to export and produce for the domestic market and left no time for reconstruction.”

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

The Gaza Strip has seen the worst casualties since 2009 in terms of people dying due to the dire humanitarian situation caused by the blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel, which is largely blamed and held responsible for massive GDP losses and the disappearance of exports.

The Rafah border crossing is the main road linking the Egyptian border town of Rafah to the Palestinian Gaza strip. It has been mostly closed since the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, as a result of militant attacks on security and military headquarters in the bordering Sinai Peninsula.

TRTWorld and agencies