Gaza may be uninhabitable by 2020, says UN
Gaza could be â€œuninhabitableâ€ in less than five years if current economic trends continue, according to a new United Nations report.
The report released on Tuesday by the UN Conference on Trade and Development points to the eight-year economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars there over the past six years.
Last yearâ€™s Israeli war on Gaza displaced half a million people and left parts of the strip destroyed.
The war â€œhas effectively eliminated what was left of the middle class, sending almost all of the population into destitution and dependence on international humanitarian aid,â€ the new report says.
Gazaâ€™s GDP dropped 15 percent last year, and unemployment reached a record high of 44 percent. Seventy-two percent of households are food insecure.
The wars have shattered Gazaâ€™s ability to export and produce for the domestic market and left no time for reconstruction, the report says. It notes that Gazaâ€™s â€œde-development,â€ or development in reverse, has been accelerated.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since the armed group Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
â€œThe humanitarian catastrophe is man-made. The answer is only through are man-made policies,â€ Hamdi Shaqqura, the deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera.
Shaqqura said that donations from the international community have been â€œvery usefulâ€, but need to be coupled with â€œreal political policiesâ€ to effectively help Gaza.
â€œThe answer to Gaza is not dumping money into it. We have great potentials in Gaza for economic policies. What hinder economic development is merely Israeli policies, the closure (blockade) and other restrictions imposed on Gaza.â€
A year after the war on Gaza, less than 2 percent of the required materials have been allowed into Gaza.
The report comes as Egyptian military bulldozers press ahead with a project that effectively would fill Egyptâ€™s border with the Gaza Strip with water and flood the last remaining cross-border underground smuggling tunnels, which have brought both commercial items and weapons into Gaza.
The report calls the economic prospects for 2015 for the Palestinian territories â€œbleakâ€ because of the unstable political situation, reduced aid and the slow pace of reconstruction.
Please LOGIN or REGISTER To Gain Full Access To This Article