Gaza could become a squalid, desolated region where people are not fit to live in by 2020. This is according to a new report from the United Nations detailing the needed assistance of the Palestinian people. Gaza’s depressing condition is caused by three military operations in the past six years on top of economic crisis the region endures in the past eight years.
According to the report, there are already 500,000 people who have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the most recent military operation. The report noted that this figure excludes the number of people who died because of the military conflicts. Furthermore, there are already 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools, 15 hospitals and 45 primary healthcare centers destroyed as a result of the violence in the region. Gaza has also reached its highest level on record of joblessness, particularly among Palestinian refugees, according to the report.
The region’s economic state is worse today than two decade ago, the UN said in its report, noting that rehabilitation is not expected to be achieved in the coming years. The report outlined that per capita gross domestic product has shrunk by 30 percent since 1994; 72 percent of households are short in food. In connection with this, UN is experiencing an influx of Palestinian refugees solely dependent on food supply from the agency. From the 72,000 refugees in 2000, there are now 868,000 refugees relying to UN for food by May 2015.
Furthermore, important infrastructures in the region were also destroyed with no future means of re-construction. There had been water and electricity shortage since July and August of 2014 as Gaza’s sole powered plant had already been destroyed. The Palestinian National Authority is not permitted to develop and use the offshore natural gas fields discovered since the 1990s on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast. Also, as many as 247 factories and 300 commercial centers were fully or partially destroyed.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that Egypt has commenced bulldozing through the sand along Egypt’s border with the Gaza strip and eventually will fill it with water. The Egyptian officials said it is building a military-operated fish farm that is aimed at destroying the tunnels used by smugglers in the transport of migrants crossing the border.
Hamas officials on the other hand alleged that the said “fish farm” is another step taken by Egypt to further isolate the Palestinian territory, the AP reported. Hamas officials Mushir al-Masri said that the “fish farm” is a means for Egypt to be “a tightening of the grip of siege on Gaza,” adding that Egypt “should not slide into this cliff that agrees with the Israeli policies of siege.”
Hamas mayor Subhi Radwan explained further that the “fish farm,” to be filled by sea water, will damage Gaza’s chief water source. The project will also destroy the homes on the Gaza side of the border. “We appeal to our brothers in Egypt to stop the work that endangers the people of Gaza. Gaza has enough problems: wars, siege and a difficult economic situation,” Radwan said as quoted by AP.