Report: The people of Gaza live with minimal services at a time when crises warn of more serious repercussions

 With the beginning of 2020, the population of the Gaza Strip, which exceeded two million, still lives with a minimum or less of basic services at a time when humanitarian crises warn of more serious repercussions.

The Gaza Strip needs more than ever before an effective international intervention to lift the ongoing siege imposed by the occupation since about 13 years ago, in light of the exacerbation of the humanitarian crises in it.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned of the sharp deterioration in the Strip, including a famous report published in August 2012 that the Gaza Strip would not be a livable area if the blockade continued.

Palestinian officials stress the necessity of introducing comprehensive facilities, mainly based on economic development, to ensure a serious improvement in the lives of the residents of the Strip.

The head of the People's Committee to lift the siege on Gaza, Jamal al-Khudari, said that the aforementioned UN report "constituted at the time a warning bell for the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Strip due to the repercussions of the continuation of the siege and the increase in humanitarian crises."

Al-Khudari described the conditions of Gaza with the entry into the year 2020 as "at the height of misfortune in all areas, and human suffering in increasing especially poverty rates and record unemployment."

He added, "Maybe Gaza is still a suitable place to live, but to a minimum or less than international standards and even Arab, which makes it one of the most miserable regions, perhaps in the world."

Al-Khudari pointed out that 85% of the population of the Gaza Strip is below the poverty line, while the average per capita income does not exceed 2 US dollars, with 300 thousand workers suffering from unemployment and economic production declining by more than 80%.

The UN report, issued in 2012 and announced from Gaza, was titled "Gaza 2020 Will It Be Livable?", Warning that the sector will not be so unless urgent measures are taken to improve water, electricity and health services.

The unemployment rate in Gaza in 2012 was estimated at 29 percent of the population, while it currently stands at 53 percent, and rises to 67 percent among young people.

In addition to that, government hospitals in the Gaza Strip face a shortage of about 50 percent of medicines and medical consumables, forcing the majority of patients, especially those with chronic diseases, to seek treatment abroad on an easy journey.

The power outage crisis continues to haunt the people of Gaza with the adoption of a schedule that reached about 8 hours and cut for a similar period, despite the improvement as a result of a financial grant from Qatar several months ago.

In parallel, the crisis of severe shortage in the availability of safe drinking water continues, noting that several projects for constructing desalination plants for sea water have started nearly two years ago to avoid the severe risks resulting from the reality of the pollution of the underground water.

In this regard, Deputy Chairman of the Gaza Water Authority, Eng. Mazin Al-Banna said that 97 percent of the underground wells in the sector suffer from pollution and do not comply with the standards of the World Health Organization.

Al-Banna said during a symposium in Gaza that the supplies of the underground reservoir of renewable water sources in the Gaza Strip do not exceed 50 million cubic meters annually, in return, extraction of about 200 million cubic meters, which causes a huge deficit that carries serious repercussions in the future.

He stated that this reality led to overlapping of sea water and the high percentage of salts, especially drinking water, amid a serious slowdown in projects to establish desalination plants due to the Israeli blockade and restrictions on the introduction of construction materials and equipment needed.

Residents of the Gaza Strip depend on purchasing desalination plants water, especially since the proportions of salts and nitrates in the groundwater in the sector exceed the internationally permitted rates and reach 96.2%.

And the United Nations Development and Trade Council, "UNCTAD", has previously monitored the real risks that the Gaza Strip suffers from the effects of the blockade and Israeli military operations on the Strip in recent years.

The UNCTAD highlighted the decline in social and economic indicators in Gaza to their lowest levels in nearly half a century, in light of the suffering of most Gazans from a shortage of food, housing, clean water and electricity.

He pointed to the reality of high population density and overcrowding, which may make Gaza inaccessible by 2020, on an area of ​​approximately 362 square kilometers, which makes the sector one of the world's most densely populated regions.

In addition to the siege imposed by the occupation since 2007, Israel launched three large-scale military operations against the Gaza Strip, the first at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, and the second in November 2012, up to the last attack in the summer of 2014, which left thousands of homes destroyed and massive damage to infrastructure For the sector.

Egypt, the United Nations, and Qatar have been mediating understandings about a year and a half ago in an effort to introduce humanitarian facilities to Gaza and prevent new open confrontation between the Palestinian factions and Israel against the backdrop of the return marches that began on March 30, 2018 to demand the lifting of the blockade of the Strip.

In this regard, the head of the Gaza Businessmen Association, Ali Al Hayek, said that there are positive indications that the year 2020 may witness a relatively economic improvement, provided that the economic facilities provided to the sector continue.

Hayek stressed in a statement, Gaza’s urgent need for facilities that would contribute to alleviating human suffering and give a spark of hope to the population in light of the great exacerbation of the unemployment and poverty crises.

He stressed that the desired facilities can drive the economy in Gaza and work to move the economic situation in light of its stagnation with the need to lift export and import restrictions and accelerate the pace of reconstruction projects in addition to real support for the restoration of activity for all economic life facilities in the sector.

Observers confirm that international aid to the people of Gaza may prevent life from completely stopping, but it has left the Strip in a permanent state of dependence on humanitarian aid rather than serious projects to promote development.


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